2012 Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship

June 16, 2012

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This spring, the George Washington University Law School was proud to award Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Dowling, JAGC, USN, (LLM ’11), the 2012 Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship.

Dowling’s paper, “Improving Energy Security with the Great Green Fleet: The Case for Transitioning from Ethanol to Drop-In Renewable Fuels,” highlights the U.S. Navy’s planned Great Green Fleet, a strike group that will be comprised of nuclear powered carriers and submarines, hybrid electric ships powered by a 50/50 blend of algae-based naval propulsion fuel, and aircraft flying on a 50/50 blend of camelina-based naval aviation fuel. The fleet is a major emblem of the Navy’s larger initiative to meet half its energy requirements through renewable sources by 2020. Dowling uses the Navy’s example to urge the U.S. Congress to adopt a similar initiative, forgoing legislative preferences for ethanol-based fuels in favor of "drop-in" renewable fuels that meet the same performance capabilities of petroleum-based fuel. It concludes with recommendations for fostering a new renewable fuel policy that provides the United States with the greatest amount of energy security in a cost-effective and market-oriented manner.

Dowling accepted a commission in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 2003 at the end of his second year of law school. During his first tour, he served as a Legal Assistance Attorney, Region Tax Officer, and Defense Counsel at Naval Legal Service Office Southwest in San Diego, California. In 2006, he deployed to Iraq as a Legal Advisor for the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center where he helped ensure compliance with the Geneva Convention and the Detainee Treatment Act. For his second tour, Dowling served as a defense counsel and eventually as the senior defense counsel at Naval Legal Service Office Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia in Naples, Italy. His case work took him all over Western Europe and the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan, where he represented sailors facing administrative separation and court-martial. Currently, Dowling serves as an Environmental Attorney for Chief of Naval Operations, N4 - Fleet Readiness and Logistics.

Dowling graduated with highest honors from GW Law’s LLM in Environmental and Energy Law Program in 2011. He received a JD, concentrating in environmental law, from the University of Maryland School of Law in 2004. Upon graduation, he received the William P. Cunningham Award for exceptional achievement and service to the law school. He received a B.S. cum laude from Wake Forest University in 2001.

The Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship is awarded each year at a ceremony held in connection with the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Conference. The prize of $5,000 is awarded for the best paper written by a GW Law JD, LLM, or SJD student in the field of environmental law, based on originality, innovation, depth of scholarship, the importance of the environmental issue addressed, and the quality of the writing and analysis. To receive the Grodsky Prize, a paper must be of publishable quality and make a significant contribution to the theory or practice of environmental law. The winning paper may be published in the GW Journal of Energy and Environmental Law. In its second year, the Grodsky Prize was established to honor Professor Jamie Grodsky’s legacy of leading-edge environmental scholarship by encouraging students to produce papers on important environmental issues. The prize is made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Gerold Grodsky.

The 2011 prize went to Renee Martin-Nagle (LLM ’10) for her paper, “Fossil Aquifers: A Common Heritage of Mankind.” Ms. Martin-Nagle focused on international groundwater law. Presenting the history and current challenges of regulating water resources across national boundaries, she proposed a way to better manage international freshwater resources in the years to come.

Read the winning papers: