Environmental Law and Policy
This course surveys the statutes, regulations, common law principles, and policies that address a wide range of environmental problems. The course begins by providing an introduction to environmental problems, basic theoretical concepts, common law cases, and the administrative law background necessary to understand this field of law. The course then proceeds to examine the goals of pollution control statutes and the criteria guiding decisions about the stringency of regulation. We will study relevant portions of the major environmental law statutes as they relate to understanding the different regulatory criteria employed—e.g., effects-based standards, technology-based standards, and cost-benefit considerations. The statutes that we will study include the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The course will also compare the different means of meeting environmental goals, including traditional regulation, economic incentives, information-based approaches, pollution prevention, and ecological restoration.
Students will be assessed through a combination of classroom participation, written assignments, and a final take-home examination.