Thanks for the great info and personal examples, kumba! And here's a link to where I posted this question in another category: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=98162
One of the responders posted an interesting link to his "Environmental Law Preference Rankings." They seem to mirror what you were saying.
This link might help explain that user-generated rankings a little better: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=79085
Otherwise, I will say that GULC does have a very interesting enviro law & policy institute, and you can get clinical experience through their public service clinic (not sure of what they call it). At either school you are going to face competition among your classmates for the specific jobs you are looking at, but the competition will be far greater at L&C because of how many people want to do environmental law and because of how few jobs are open to them. I would not be surprised if the Top 10% comment was on the ball for federal government work at DoJ or EPA.
Going to a school that specializes in environmental law is not necessarily better than going to a top school that offers a specialty within its curriculum. Most of the top law schools have environmental programs that offer a small portion of the students direct interaction with environmental law practitioners in a variety of fields. As an example, in the last 2.5 (almost) years at Vanderbilt, I've worked for one former general counsel of the EPA, met and introduced two other former GCs at a panel conference for our environmental journal in DC, worked under one of the most well-known public interest environmental attorneys in the country, worked in the environmental practice group of one of the top energy firms in the world, and taken classes with: our departmental director who specializes in climate change law; a treaty negotiator and former director at NOAA; a visiting expert in emerging technologies from Arizona St; and a former AA at EPA who, among other accomplishments, negotiated the original wetlands agreement between EPA and USACE under Bush I. I've gotten about as much exposure to the environmental field as one can get while in law school, and I've done it with median grades and limited competition in my class. Plus, I've had fun.
Point is, there are benefits in finding the people at the top schools you're considering and hear how they've fared in their school's environmental program. L&C is great for regional public interest work, but for work at the federal gov't level I have to go with the pro-GULC constituency (or at least pro-top programs constituency).
I say this as a huge fan of Pace and to a lesser extent Vermont, coming from the northeast. If I have my way we will be starting up a clinic based on the Pace/Riverkeeper partnership model in the next couple of years, similar to what Gonzaga Law just announced. And I can assume there are people like myself at other top programs across the country... the challenge to you is to seek us out and see what's going on. If nothing else you can contact program directors and ask them what they have planned in the near future. Our own program director enjoys discussing the law school with prospective students who are interested in this line of work, so it can't hurt to ask. G'luck