HLS 2074. Environmental Law


  • Professor: Richard Lazarus
  • Term: Fall
  • Day: Th, F
  • Time: 10:30AM-12:30PM
  • School: Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Course ID: 217025

This course surveys federal environmental law and serves as a useful introduction both to environmental law’s particular complexities as well as to the skills necessary in mastering any complex area of regulation. The first part of the course considers the character of environmental disputes, the problems inherent in fashioning legal rules for their resolution, the history of the emergence of modern environmental law in the United States, and constitutional law issues that arise in the environmental law context. The second part of the course reviews several specific federal environmental statutes. The statutory review combines a close examination of several statutes – especially the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act – with a more general review of the basis operation of other laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. All the statutes serve as illustrations of different regulatory approaches to environmental problems: "command and control," information disclosure, and market-based instruments. The class includes more extended consideration of climate change law and how and why environmental law is routinely whipsawed by shifting Presidential administrations, and class discussion frequently extends beyond court rulings to include the underlying litigation strategies of the parties that led to those rulings.