Environmental lawyer helps Wayne Law students review I-94 project

Veteran attorney R. Craig Hupp is sharing his expertise with Wayne State University Law School’s Transnational Environmental Law Clinic students to review the proposed Interstate 94 highway widening project.

A 1983 Wayne Law alumnus, Hupp of Grosse Pointe is a noted environmental attorney with Bodman PLC and a registered professional engineer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in traffic and transport from the University of New South Wales in Australia, where he and his wife lived for 2.5 years. He worked for national consulting engineering firms and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments before going to law school.

Hupp worked with Kyle Bruckner, a second-year student from Royal Oak, and Cody Attisha, a third-year law student from Novi, on legal work related to the I-94 project.

The law clinic and affiliated nonprofit Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, as well as community and environmental groups, have concerns about a $2.7 billion state proposal to expand I-94 through the center of Midtown Detroit. The project was proposed in the 1990s, and those with concerns about it say a new environmental assessment should be completed to take into account changes that have taken place since then, including population trends, vehicle miles traveled, regional transportation and public transit. They also say the project’s original environmental analysis, completed more than a decade ago, failed to include community health aspects, climate change and environmental justice concerns.

“Hupp offered the students initial comments on their draft memos, and the students went back, made some changes and resubmitted them to him, and he really did a great job of helping to guide their research based on his expertise and experience,” said Assistant (Clinical) Professor Nick Schroeck, director of the clinic and executive director of the environmental law center. “I would like to thank him for his generosity volunteering in the clinic this semester and for his willingness to continue to help us out in the future.”

Hupp will become of counsel with Bodman on Jan. 1 and plans to continue to volunteer with the environmental law clinic.

Attisha and Bruckner’s legal research has focused on whether the state and federal governments have violated the National Environmental Policy Act as it relates to the I-94 project.

“The sheer scope of the project requires that it be examined closely to ensure it is being pursued in accordance with all statutory and regulatory requirements,” said Bruckner, who plans a career in administrative law. “It has been very rewarding to dive into a project like this one with such a large community impact.”

Attisha, who plans a career in corporate tax law, said he became a clinic student to bridge the gap between legal theory and practice.

“Through the clinic, I engaged in very high level legal research and drafting typical of what you would be doing as an attorney in everyday practice,” he said. “This is the precise experience I was looking to gain, and Craig Hupp at Bodman sharpened my drafting skills and offered me advice that I will use throughout my entire career. He is a fascinating attorney and offers a wealth of knowledge to clinic students.”

Hupp, who previously served as a Wayne Law adjunct professor teaching environmental law, is an awarded expert on environmental law considerations for business and government. He represents Macomb County in a wide range of sewer-rate and other issues and played a key role in negotiations to create the Great Lakes Water Authority. He served for many years as a case evaluator on Wayne County’s Commercial Case Evaluation Panel and is a director of The Ecology Center.

“I like to work with students, and think I have something to offer in terms of writing and advocacy skills,” Hupp said. “In a corporate practice, I have few opportunities to work on public interest environmental matters. Assisting students in the clinic creates an opportunity to do so.”


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