MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA -- Patrick McGinley, the Charles H. Haden II Professor of Law at West Virginia University, is the 2016 winner of the Svitlana Kravchenko Environmental Rights Award.
The award recognizes McGinley's "work as a legal scholar, teacher, and
public interest environmental litigator [who] has been committed to the rule
of law, speaking truth to power, mentoring law students and lawyers and empowering
families and communities marginalized by discrimination based on race, wealth,
The Land Air Water, the nation’s oldest and largest student environmental law society at
the University of Oregon, presents the award annually at its Public Interest
Environmental Law Conference.
McGinley has been a leader in environmental law during a career that has spanned
more than 40 years. Among his accomplishments, he litigated —- and won —- the first
mountaintop removal case; he represented a citizen’s group that preserved the Cranberry
Backcountry in West Virginia’s Highlands as federal wilderness; and he is a
leading authority on the Freedom of Information Act.
McGinley served on the Governor’s independent investigative team for both the Sago Mine disaster and the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster, where a total of 41 miners lost their lives due to practices of the mine operators and failures of government to enforce mine safety laws.
The award's namesake — Svitlana Kravchenko — was a Ukrainian
and American law professor and scholar. In 2012, the ABA honored Kravchenko
posthumously for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy. Throughout
her career, she helped build the connection between human rights and environmental
protection. In addition to her international work, Kravchenko was a reformer advocating
democratic principles in Ukraine.
The Kravchenko award is given to “those who carry on in Svitlana’s spirit: having exquisite qualities of both head and heart; mixing academic rigor with spirited activism; and speaking truth to power, while exhibiting kindness toward all. Also in that spirit, the award winner inspires young adults to reach for the stars, while keeping their feet firmly planted in the Earth they want to protect, as Svitlana did. The award goes to a person who makes broad impacts in the law, while working to support local communities.”
The Kravchenko Award winner is selected by the directors of Land Air Water after
nomination by and consultation with the staff of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide and
Professor John Bonine, the professional partner and husband of Professor Kravchenko.
Previous Kravchenko Award winners have included Professor Raquel Gutierrez of Mexico,
Professor William Rodgers of the U.S., and Professor Antonio Oposa of the Philippines.
The 34th Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC), held at the University of Oregon School of Law in March, drew more than 2000 attorneys, students, legal scholars, scientists, and community activists, from throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries to share their ideas, experience, and expertise.