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All VLS Courses

Course Name

Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World


Examines key issues in American energy policy and searches for ways to ease the strains which that policy puts upon environmental sustainability. The course reviews fundamental facts about our energy demands and sample regulatory orders and legal writings that address many of those elements from the perspective of a legal review. Background readings will include ethical issues of social justice in siting projects and meeting-or limiting-energy demand, the statutory schemes underlying traditional regulation, and an introduction to wholesale electric markets.

Energy Regulation and the Environment


Builds on the course Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World by exposing students to the legal, economic, and structural issues involved in energy regulation and energy markets, focusing on electricity. The course examines the evolution, theory and techniques of monopoly regulation; the current processes for rate setting; and the development of  competitive, market-based alternatives. The course exposes students to the latest approaches to managing the electric grid, to renewable energy strategies and procurement, energy efficiency, demand side management and green markets.

Energy, Development, and Climate Change


An exploration of the intersection of energy and development with special attention to the implications of climate change. Course topics and readings are based on recent developments, including the environmental implications of growing energy demand in China and other large developing countries, opportunities and challenges to adoption of renewable energy and other technology-based solutions, and the potential contribution of carbon trading.

Environmental Aspects of Business Transactions


This course will introduce students to the liability, diligence and drafting issues that arise in complex environmental business transactions, such as the purchase and sale of major assets, real property and company stock.

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Environmental Dispute Resolution A

Alternative Dispute ResolutionEnvironmental

Explores the range of processes that are used to resolve environmental disputes with particular emphasis on consensual processes such as negotiation and mediation.  Instruction will be based on lectures and discussions of the theory of dispute resolution and environmental law and simulations to practice the skills needed to resolve environmental disputes.


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Environmental Economics and Markets


Introduces students to the discipline of environmental economics and expose them to debates over the use of market-based instruments in environmental and energy policy. It also introduces students to basic economics and finance concepts, examines key principles, and applies these basic elements and concepts to common environmental problems and actual case studies.

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Environmental Enforcement and Compliance


Introduction to the enforcement of federal pollution control laws and a discussion of the basic regulatory structure of those laws and the enforcement tools available to regulators. Covers civil and criminal enforcement and alternatives to traditional command-and-control regulation and enforcement for gaining compliance with environmental standards.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Course Syllabus - updated 6/3/14

Environmental Ethics Seminar


Explores the ethical foundations of environmental reasoning, including: intrinsic value, biocentrism, utilitarianism, eco-feminism, deep ecology, social ecology, and religious/spiritual foundations of environmental reasoning. These theoretical approaches are applied to concrete environmental policy issues. A central goal of the course is to assist students in developing a personal and professional environmental ethic.

Environmental Health Law Seminar


Using  federal environmental law and state public health law this seminar addresses human health impacts resulting from exposure to physical, chemical, biological, and social factors in the environment.  Coverage includes toxic torts, lead poisoning prevention, food protection, and pesticides.  Public policy, and the role of government as policymaker and regulator, are emphasized.  

Environmental Insurance Law and Litigation


Provides a broad based introduction to insurance law generally, and more specifically to how environmental issues have forced dramatic changes in the insurance industry, as well as how insurance is a fundamental component of many cases with environmental implications. It will cover the nature and purpose of insurance; different types of environmental insurance products; excess and reinsurance; issues affecting insurers, including tort reform, environmental cleanups, and insolvencies; state and federal regulation of insurers in the environmental arena.