Profile picture of John Bonine

John Bonine

Professor of Law
Bernard B. Kliks Professor
Law, Law-JD
Phone: 541-346-3827
Office: 320C Knight Law Center


John Bonine is one of the pioneers of environmental law in the United States and a professor in Oregon's LL.M. program. He was a Legislative Assistant in the U.S. Senate in 1972 and then moved to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He rose to the supervisory position of Associate General Counsel before joining the University of Oregon in 1978. While at Oregon, he has created or co-founded numerous institutions: the world's first environmental law clinic (now the Western Environmental Law Center); the Public Interest Environmental Law Conferences; the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide; a domestic network of public interest environmental lawyers in the United States; a discussion network of environmental law professors (ENVLAWPROFESSORS); and the Oregon-Lviv University Partnership.

He is co-author of two textbooks, The Law of Environmental Protection and Human Rights and the Environment. In recent years, his scholarship has focused particularly on public participation and access to justice in environmental decision-making. Bonine teaches Administrative Law, Comparative Environmental Law, Constitutional Law, Environmental Law, and the LL.M. Seminar. He is a member of the Commission on Environmental Law of the World Conservation Union and an elected member of the International Council of Environmental Lawyers.

Professor Bonine's passion is public-interest law.

Public Interest Resources

From time to time, Prof. Bonine posts links to resources that are relevant to the practice of public interest environmental law.
BP's Feb. 2009 Environmental Impact Analysis for 'Deepwater Horizon' oil gusher disaster in Gulf of Mexico
April 2007 Student Matrix of Global Warming Bills


In recent years he has devoted much of his efforts to promoting environmental law around the world. For example, he is:

  • co-founder of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), a network of 300 environmental lawyers in 70 countries;
  • a citizen negotiator on international environmental treaties and conventions in Geneva and London for the European ECO Forum;
  • Chair of the Board of Directors for the Ukrainian public interest environmental law firm Ecology-People-Law; and
  • an active member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law.


Bonine teaches and researches U.S. environmental law, and represents citizen groups in environmental cases. His work includes:


Articles, Books, and Book Chapters (full books in boldface)

Access to Justice as a Constitutional and International Human Right (work in progress)

Teacher's Manual to Human Rights and the Environment: Cases, Law, and Policy (with Kravchenko) (Carolina Academic Press, 2010)

Private Public Interest Environmental Law: History, Hard Work, and Hope, 26 Pace Envt'l L. Rev. 465 (2009) [also translated into Ukrainian and published in Environment-People-Law Journal, 2010]

Access to Justice: The Need for Creative Financing, chapter in book, Compliance & Enforcement: Toward More Effective Implementation Of Environmental Law, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Research Studies (Cambridge Univ. Press, London) (submitted and accepted, forthcoming)

Best Practices-Access to Justice (Agenda for Public Interest Law Reform), The Access Initiative, World Resources Institute (2009)

Human Rights and the Environment: Cases, Law, and Policy (with Kravchenko) (Carolina Academic Press, 2008) (600 pages)

  • This is the first law school case book anywhere in the world to combine the fields of human rights law and environmental law.

Removing Barriers and Providing Incentives for Citizen Enforcement of Environmental Law (Усунення барьєрів та забезпечення стимулювання обстоювання екологічних законів громадянами), Екологія- Право-Людина [translated into Ukrainian and published in Environment-People-Law Journal] (Issues 32-33), pp. 29-42 (Summer-Autumn, 2007) (in Ukrainian).

William H. Rodgers, Jr., and Environmental Law: Never Give Up, Keep on Going, 82 Wash. L. Rev. 459 (2007)

Barreras Económicas en el Acceso Ciudadano a la Justicia Ambiental [Economic Barriers in Citizens’ Access to Environmental Justice], chapter in book, Terceras Jornadas de Derecho Ambiental: Institucionalidad e Instrumentos de gestión ambiental para el Chile del Bicentenario, (Lexis-Nexis, Santiago, Chile, 2006) (in Spanish)

Removing Barriers and Providing Incentives for Citizen Enforcement of Environmental Laws,Revista de Direitos Difusos [Diffuse Rights Review], vol. 38 (São Paulo, Brazil, 2006) (comparative analysis and evaluation of legal doctrines in Latin America and elsewhere that erect financial barriers to justice) (in English)

Communications and Team-Building in a Bilateral University Partnership, Linkages, online journal of the Institute of International Education (New York, 2006)

Access to Justice and Citizen Enforcement, chapter in book, Law of Energy for Sustainable Development, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Research Studies (Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 2005)

Hitching Ecosystems and Wildlife to Legal Words, chapter in book, Fauna, Políticas Publicas E instrumentos Legais [Wildlife Protecton: Policy and Legal Instruments] (Law for a Green Planet Institute, São Paulo, 2004) (in English)

Public Interest Environmental Lawyers – Global Examples and Personal Reflections, 10 Widener Law Rev. 451 (2004) (history of environmental law origins abroad)

The Public's Right to Enforce Environmental Law chapter in book, Handbook on Access to Justice (REC, Budapest, 2003) (in English) (treaty analysis)

Democracy and Rights of Access and Public Participation: Worldwide Trends, chapter in book, Legal Foundations for Public Consultation in Government Decision-Making (US-Asia Environmental Partnership & Thammasat University, Bangkok 2003) (in English)

The Construction of Participatory Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, chapter in book, Human Rights in Resources Development: The New Law of Public Participation (Oxford University Press, 2002) (historical research)

Environmental Impact Assessment and International Law chapter in book, Current Issues of International Environmental Law (Lviv, 2002) (translated to Ukrainian) (with Kravchenko, Andrusevych) (textbook) (in Ukrainian)

Is There a Perspective of Environmental Democracy in Europe? 18 Envir. Advocacy J. 12 (Ukraine, 2002) (in Ukrainian)

Case of the Gypsy Moth, 16 Envir. Advocacy J. 24 (Ukraine, 2001) (in Ukrainian)

Strategic Environmental Assessment, 14 Envir. Advocacy J. (Ukraine, 2001) (in Ukrainian)

Standing to Sue, 11, 12 Envir. Advocacy J. (Ukraine, 2000) (two-part) (in Ukrainian)

Negotiating for Public Participation, Freedom of Information, and Citizens Suits in Europe – Aarhus 1998, 1 Oregon Rev. of Intl. Law 27 (1999)

Broadening 'Standing to Sue' for Citizen Enforcement in Proceedings of Fifth International Conference on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (Monterey, 1999)

Synopsis, chapter in book, Doors to Democracy, A Pan-European Assessment of Current Trends and Practices in Public Participation in Environmental Matters (REC, Budapest, 1998) (in English)

Litigation as a Creative Force for Environmental Impact Assessment, chapter in book, International Environmental Impact Assessment: European and Comparative Law and Practical Experience (Cameron May, London, 1997)

Standing-to-Sue, chapter in book, Public Interest Litigation — Changes Worldwide and Prospects for Central/Eastern Europe and the NIS, Ford Foundation (1997)

The Law of Environmental Protection (with McGarity) (West, 1992) (2d Edition) (textbook, 900 pages)

Toxic Chemicals and the Seventh Generation, Water Quality Standards for the 21st Century (EPA, 1991)

Environmental Law in the Developing World, Proceedings of Second International Conference on Environmental Law (Bangkok, 1991)

Plain Talk: Making NEPA Work, 25 Land & Water L.Rev
. (Wyoming, 1990) (with Axline)

Stones for David's Sling: Civil Penalties in Citizen Suits against Polluting Federal Facilities, 2 J. Envir. L. & Litig. 1 (1989) (with Axline, others)

A Voice from the Wilderness Calling Your Name, 6 Yale J. of Reg. 393 (1989)

Freedom of Information and Public Interest Environmental Litigation, chapter in book, Global Development and Environment Crisis (Penang, Malaysia, 1988)

UNEP Principles on Environmental Impact Assessment, 17-1 Envir. Policy and Law (Netherlands, 1987)

The New Private Public Interest Bar, 1 J. of Envir. L. & Litig. 1 (1987) (introducing the concept of 'private' public interest law)

Worst Case Analysis, Abdication, and Plain English, Proceedings of the International Bar Association (Victoria, Canada, 1986)

The Law of Environmental Protection (with McGarity) (West, 1984) (1st Edition) (textbook, 1000 pages)

Public Interest Fee Waivers under the Freedom of Information Act, 1981 Duke L.J. 213 (1981)

The Evolution of 'Technology-Forcing' in the Clean Air Act, Envir. Rptr. Monograph (1975) (introducing the theory of 'technology forcing' to U.S. law)

Handbook on Oregon Consumer Protection Laws (Oregon, Economic Development and Consumer Services, 1969)

Report of the Chicago Riot Study Committee to Hon. Richard J. Daley, part of chapter on Cook County Jail in report by the Committee (1968)

Recent Informal, Popular Writing (only writing since 2003 listed)

Copenhagen or Hopenhagen, Eugene Weekly, Decmber 10, 2009 (prospects for a worldwide agreement on climate change actions)

Local flu planning often inadequate, Eugene Register-Guard, April 30, 2009 (lack of transparency in local governmental and educational planning for flu pandemic)

Auto Emissions, Portland Oregonian, December 23, 2007 (on EPA’s action in rejecting California’s request to control greenhouse gas emissions more strictly)

Ready or Not …, Eugene Register-Guard, June 17, 2007 (concerning lack of local preparation for pandemic influenza)

Tropical Paradise Reflecting Environmental Future of the World (Віддзеркалення екологічного майбутнього світу у тропічному раю).Екологія. Право. Людина/Environment People Law Journal №1 (31). Winter, 2006. P. 39-42.

Earth Day Martyr and Price on Environmental Lawyer's Head, Environmental News Service (Apr. 2006)

A Giant Departs, Oregon Lawyer (2005)

The End of Telephone Law? Eugene Register-Guard, Dec. 2004; Portland Oregonian, Dec. 2004

Haunted by Waters, Oregon State Bar Bulletin (Jan. 2003)

Honors and Awards

Dean’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow, named 2008

David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award, Land Air Water, Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, 2007

David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award, Land Air Water, Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, 1997

David Simon Award for Vision, Oregon Natural Resources Council, 1989

Senator Richard E. Neuberger Award for greatest contribution to Oregon’s environment, Oregon Environmental Council, 1982