Request for Papers: 2020 Ohio Public Interest Environmental Justice Writing Competition

The Request for Papers is now closed. If you have any questions, please contact Chris Tavenor at


In an effort to encourage law, graduate, and undergraduate students to engage with important environmental issues facing Ohio, the Ohio Environmental Council is announcing the first Ohio Public Interest Environmental Justice Writing Competition. This competition will highlight the high-quality academic work of individuals soon to enter the legal or policy world while simultaneously catalyzing conversation about issues facing Ohio’s environment. 

Thus, the OEC will select articles from up to five applicants to be featured on the OEC’s website. The students will also have the opportunity to share their work with attendees to the 2020 Ohio Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. The selected applicants will also be eligible to receive a scholarship: one finalist will receive a scholarship of $750, a runner-up will receive $250, and three finalists will receive honorary mention. Only students presently enrolled in an accredited law school, graduate program, or undergraduate institution may submit a paper for this competition.

Writing Prompt

Environmental injustices strike Ohioans everywhere, yet particular environmental harms affect certain communities disproportionately. In your article, explore a specific issue of environmental justice impacting Ohioans, whether legal, political, economic, or scientific in nature. Identify the distinct impacts (and the impacted communities) and propose possible solutions to eliminate the environmental injustices.

The 2020 Ohio Public Interest Environmental Law Conference has the following tagline: “At the Crossroads of Environmental Justice and Democracy.” Articles that touch on the relationships between environmental injustices, the democratic process, and community power will receive special consideration.

Submission Requirements

In order for an article to be eligible for publication and the scholarship award, it must be submitted by August 7, 2020 along with a cover letter explaining why the article fits the writing prompt. Preference will be given to articles under 2500 words. 

Paper Expectations

A high caliber article will not only engage with a discrete, high profile issue in environmental law and environmental justice, it will also illustrate the author’s command of language to communicate with brevity and elevate the importance of the problem they are exploring. 

Whether the author explores a problem at the federal, state, or local level, the paper should engage the minds of readers to think beyond what the law or policy is; it will cause readers to consider what the law should be. It should force readers to recognize a real problem facing Ohioans and realize why (and ideally how) the problem can be solved. Authors should write not only as a scholar describing an issue in objective terms, they should write as advocates advancing the public interest.

Article Evaluation Process

In pursuit of the objectives outlined, the Ohio Environmental Council will select the finalists based on the following criteria:

  • 5 pts: Cover letter
  • 10 pts: Relationship of issue to Ohio
  • 15 pts: Analysis of issue through environmental justice lens
  • 10 pts: Writing quality
  • 10 pts: Depth of research


Questions and Submissions

To submit your article, you must fill out this Submission Form.

If you have any questions please contact: Chris Tavenor, Staff Attorney at the Ohio Environmental Council at