Professor Cale Jaffe ’01 of the University of Virginia School of Law has been appointed to the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the midterm appointment Dec. 18. Jaffe has begun serving his term, which ends June 30, 2023.

Created by state law, the commission makes recommendations to the governor, executive offices and the General Assembly on energy-related matters, including conservation, renewable energy, nuclear power and alternative fuels. The Virginia Coal and Energy Commission consists of seven citizens appointed by the governor and 13 members of the General Assembly.

Jaffe first met with the commission Dec. 21 for a presentation on the Virginia Clean Economy Act, legislation enacted in 2020 to transition the state to a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2050.

Jaffe joined the Law School faculty in 2016 and is director of the Environmental Law and Community Engagement Clinic. He was previously an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center and was director of the center’s Virginia office from 2013-16. He was part of the SELC team that won a unanimous victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy in 2007, and he has litigated numerous energy-related cases before the State Corporation Commission. In 2014, Jaffe was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission.

Under Jaffe’s leadership, the clinic and its students have helped defend Virginia’s uranium mining ban via U.S. Supreme Court amicus, joined a fight to preserve a historic Black schoolhouse, proposed renewable energy development on abandoned mines and successfully argued on behalf of clients before the State Corporation Commission.

“I am excited to see how the commission might provide an opportunity for clinic students to work with me on some cutting-edge energy policy questions,” he said. “And of course, at the same time I hope we’ll provide a useful public service to the commonwealth.”

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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