Environmental Law and Policy
This course provides an introduction to federal environmental law, regulation, and policy in the United States. The course emphasizes the cooperative and competing roles that the federal and state governments play in implementing environmental law in the United States. The course encourages students to adopt a comparative and dynamic view of environmental protection under U.S. law. We begin with a discussion of the property law roots of environmental law. Next we briefly touch on some aspects of U.S. administrative law that are essential to understanding the material that follows (students should feel free to take this class without having taken Administrative Law). This is followed by a discussion of the risk assessment and cost-benefit frameworks essential to understanding the current U.S. approach to environmental problems. We conclude this segment with a comparison of two approaches to chemical safety regulation - the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act and the EU REACH directive. Next, we focus on three key substantive federal environmental statutes: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Next, we turn to the National Environmental Policy Act to understand how environmental concerns are included in the process of making agency decisions. The course concludes with a discussion of current EPA efforts to address emissions of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Special Instructions: Substantial participation is expected and class participation constitutes twenty percent (20%) of the overall grade for the course. In addition, students are expected to complete two 1000 word written assignments during the course that will constitute forty percent (40%) of the overall grade. Finally, an in-school exam will, similar in format and length to the written assignments, constitute the remaining forty percent (40%) of the overall grade. Elements used in grading: Class participation (20%), written assignments (40%) and final exam (40%).