Capone, ’15, Wins Award in Endangered Species Writing Competition

Mark Capone, ‘15, recently took third place in the ABA,  Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Endangered Species writing competition. In the interview below, he describes the topic of his paper, relates how he first heard about the competition, and encourages other students to enter similar competitions.

Q: How did you first learn about the competition?

A: Professor Reitze informed me about the competition and encouraged me to submit an article.  I submitted an excerpt from a seminar paper that I was writing for Professor Reitze’s Climate Change class.  Professor Reitze helped me focus my paper topic on an issue of practical relevance to states and the federal agencies that administer the Endangered Species Act.  I also benefitted from numerous discussions with Professors Keiter, Ruple, Craig, and Pleune.

Q: What is your paper about and how did you first become interested in the topic?

A: My paper attempts to provide states with guidance, a road map of sorts, on how they can protect species through formalized conservation agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so that federal Endangered Species Act listing is not necessary.  I use several recent Utah examples to illustrate the key elements of preventing listing.

I have always been interested in the conservation of species.  Before law school, I was an endangered species biologist.  This paper topic interested me because state conservation in lieu of Endangered Species Listing strikes a critical balance between states retaining their historical wildlife management authority and imperiled species receiving the conservation measures necessary for their continued survival.  The approach, described in my paper, can protect biodiversity without implicating sometimes harsh. one-size-fits-all, Endangered Species Act prohibitions.

Q: Would you encourage your fellow students to submit their work to competitions like this one?  If so, why?

A: Yes. We have one of the best environmental law programs in the nation. We have faculty that are nationally recognized experts in almost every area of environmental law. Students at S.J. Quinney have the unique opportunity of working closely with professors on cutting edge research and legal analysis. Through these experiences, we can develop our own contributions to environmental law.