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Toledo Law Students Win Top Two Awards in OSBA Environmental Law Writing Competition

April 4, 2017

Since 2010, the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Environmental Law Committee presents its annual Environmental Law Award to the best law student paper submitted on environmental, energy, or natural resources law.  This year, Toledo Law students wrote both the winning and runner-up papers.  Rachel Hammersmith ‘17 was named winner and received a prize of $1000 from McMahon DeGulis.  Florianne Silvestri ‘17 was named runner-up, taking home a prize of $250.

Winning papers are to be of law review or higher quality and all papers were scored on criteria including quality of legal research, analysis, and writing; relevance to Ohio legal practice; and importance and timeliness of the topic.  The awards were announced on March 30 at the OSBA Environment, Energy, and Resources Seminar, and both papers were published in the seminar materials.

Hammersmith’s paper was entitled The Power Struggle Between Local and State Authorities to Control Oil and Gas Drilling and Fracking in Ohio.  She takes issue with a 2015 Ohio Supreme Court decision, Morrison v. Beck Energy, that struck down certain municipal ordinances regulating oil and gas drilling on the basis that they were pre-empted by state law.  Notwithstanding Morrison, she argues, Ohio municipalities can use their zoning powers to regulate oil and gas drilling and fracking within their borders.

Silvestri’s paper was titled Ohio Wind Power and the Legal Challenges with NEPA and the ESA

Ken Kilbert, professor of law, supervised both papers which were written as part of Toledo Law’s Advanced Research and Writing coursework.  “Rachel wrote a terrific paper on a timely issue of legal, practical, and environmental import,” said Kilbert.  “We are very proud of both Rachel and Florianne.”

This marks the third time in eight years that a Toledo Law student has won the OSBA’s Environmental Law Award.  Hammersmith joins previous Toledo Law winners M. Zach Hohl ‘12 and Alex Vogelpohl ‘15.  Silvestri joins previous Toledo Law runners-up Alex Savickas ‘15 and James Madeiros ‘10.


Last Updated: 2/2/18