Environmental Policy and Law

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
THU 9:00 am - 12:00 pm SUT 2.102


Environmental Law & Policy: Toxins, Science, Disclosure, And Public Health This course focuses on the legal and regulatory system that governs what we eat, drink, breath and touch. In addition to teaching about the substance of laws pertaining to the environment and public health, this course also pursues a broader goal of teaching about how the legal system functions in an area of vital public concern and includes consideration of science, economics and policy. The main textbook, Environmental Law and Policy: Nature, Law, and Society, by Plater et al., uses the structure of the legal system as its organizing principle, selecting the best examples of how the process works-including an array of classic environmental cases-without focusing on the intricacy of a media-specific physical science area. We will also be reading excerpts from other texts and A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, a nonfiction legal thriller. Topics that will be covered in the course include: •The Common Law in Modern Environmental Law, Toxic Torts •The Administrative Law Governing Environmental Law •Disclosure Strategies: NEPA's Stop-and-Think Logic •Public Participation, Bent Science and Uncertainty: Prop. 65, EPCRA •Market Forces, Trade Secrets & Free Speech: Toxins, Food & Drugs •Harm based Ambient Standards: The Clean Air Act's Stationary Source Regulation •Administrative Standards Based on "Available Technology:" The Clean Water Act •Cost-Benefit, Uncertainty, and Economics: Safe Drinking Water Act •Market Access Regulation: Toxic Substances, Pesticides, Consumer Products •Allocating Risk of Non-Essential Products: Illusory Regulation of Cosmetics •Allocating Risk in Worker Safety Regulation: Equity, Economics and Power Course Requirements 30% 3 quizzes (10% each) 15% Report. (approx. 10 pages, 12 point, double spaced) Field assignment involving observation of a public hearing or meeting focused on a state or local environmental controversy. Identify the legal and/or policy issue(s), the arguments and perspectives on each side. Interview at least two people. Consider the legal framework, as well any equity and environmental concerns. Provide your perspective on the relevant issues and likely outcome. 20% Class Participation: presentation of cases and reports, and general participation. 35% Final Exam (Identifying and applying rules of law, multiple choice and policy questions).

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

No materials required


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