The control of toxic substances in products and waste streams present a challenge to the legal system due to the gaping scientific uncertainties and the difficulty of proving cause-and-effect between substances and their effect on public health and the environment. This course examines these challenges and assesses how well the legal system fares through the study of a variety of federal regulatory programs designed to control toxins in products and pollution. In particular, the course will tour the following three types of regulatory programs:
a) statutes regulating toxic products (the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act; the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; and the Consumer Protection Act);
b) statutes regulating the continuous release of pollutants through normal operations (the Occupational Safety and Health Act; and the Clean Air and Water Acts); and
c) statutes regulating waste disposal (the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund)).
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, which requires manufacturers to disclose the types and amounts of toxins they release into various environmental media, is also considered. The course then explores the enforcement of these regulatory programs, including the use of citizen suits and environmental justice claims. The course concludes with an examination of the vital role that tort litigation continues to play in the shadow of these extensive federal regulatory programs.
Students will be evaluated based on a 24-hour, open-book examination.
The course is open to 1Ls. There are no prerequisites for the course.