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Vermont Law School will continue with mostly virtual classes during the spring semester, however limited on-campus classes and access to campus services will be offered. For information on campus access, health and safety protocols, and testing requirements please visit

Environmental Courses

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​​​​​​​​Find all Environmental Courses currently available to students below.

Environmental Courses

489/ABC's-Business Fundamentals

Module B: Business Fundamentals for Analyzing Energy and the Environment

487/ABC's-Engineering Fundamentals

Module A: Engineering Fundamentals for Analyzing Energy and the Environment

488/ABC's-Legal Fundamentals

Module C: Legal Fundamentals for Analyzing Energy and the Environment

5105/Administrative Law

Provides students with a working knowledge of the general principles of administrative law;  implementation of legislative policy through administrative agencies, including the role of administrative agencies in the governmental process, rulemaking, adjudication, and judicial review of agency actions.

401/Administrative Procedure and the Environment

This course reviews the legal doctrines that empower and constrain the so-called fourth branch of government-administrative agencies. In many arenas, but particularly in the realm of environmental policy, administrative agencies often "make" more law than courts or legislative bodies, and that law generally has more direct consequences for industry and society. Administrative law is thus fundamentally concerned with whether and how unelected bureaucrats are held accountable as they implement legislative policies.

5303/Advanced Energy Writing Seminar

This seminar provides students an opportunity to produce a significant written paper based on sophisticated research and thinking about a key area in energy policy and law. Seminar topics include proposals for reducing the economic and environmental costs of meeting energy needs. Efforts to reduce costs through more efficient delivery and end-use are assessed, with specific attention to the statutory, regulatory, and contractual techniques for creating sound incentives.

301/Advanced Land Use

Land use development and management practices can have significant impacts on the conservation of biodiversity, yet land use is not systematically regulated to address those impacts.  Instead, a mosaic of intersecting legal institutions regulate private land use through federal laws (e.g. the Endangered Species Act, wetlands regulation under the Clean Water Act) state laws (e.g., growth management systems, environmental impact assessment requirements) local regulation (e.g. general plans, subdivision regulations, zoning ordinances) and private actions (e.g. conservation easements).

5236/Advanced Natural Resources Law

Students will explore five sub-fields of Natural Resources Law, analyzing "case studies" in 1. livestock grazing, 2. oil and gas exploration and extraction (including fracking), 3. wildlife management, 4. wilderness designation and management, and 5. environmental justice concerns related to uranium mining in the Navajo Nation.

5493/Agricultural Biotechnology and the Law

This seminar provides students with a multidisciplinary working knowledge of innovations in agricultural biotechnology, of the legal institutions involved in its development and use, and of the theoretical underpinnings and normative influences that shape the debate about agricultural biotechnology. An AWR class.

5403/Agricultural Policy and the Environment

An overview of the environmental impacts of agriculture, U.S. agricultural policy, the Farm Bill, genetically modified crops, organic farming certification, and international trade and environmental agreements that influence agricultural practices in the U.S.

5401/Agriculture and the Environment

Land used for agricultural purposes (timer land excepted) accounts for nearly 53% of the total land area of the United States - the largest category of land use by far. This course addresses the complex and interconnected relationship of environmental and agricultural law, its historical roots and modern developments.

403/Agriculture Policy and the Environment

Explores a range of issues related to both the regulatory and incentive-based federal programs that affect the crops we grow, the manner in which they are grown, and the human and environmental impacts of such programs. An overview of the environmental impacts of agriculture, U.S. agricultural policy, the Farm Bill, genetically modified crops, organic farming certification, and international trade and environmental agreements that influence agricultural practices in the U.S.

5205/Air Pollution Law and Policy

This course covers the major programs and regulatory strategies embodied in the Clean Air Act that are used to address conventional air pollution, toxic air pollution, and greenhouse gas pollution.   Students will be expected to read the statutory and regulatory provisions carefully, understand the history of those provisions, and consider the science and policies which animate them.

5344/Alternative Fuels and Renewable Energy

With an eye toward the impacts of climate change on both natural systems and possible interference on current energy production, this course considers emerging distributed generation models, surveys the range of emerging energy technologies, and examines the local, state and federal laws and policies that govern transition to renewable energy sources.

5498/America's Energy Crisis - Solutions

This course addresses the fundamental crisis in which growing energy demands are threatening the buffering capacity of our global atmosphere, while also producing the greatest emissions of most primary pollutants, and the struggle to identify and create the legal elements necessary to promote and ensure solutions.

5302/Animal Law

Illustrates how animal lawyers are advancing the U.S. legal system in the interest of protecting all animals. Although our laws view animals as personal property, these lawyers and policymakers craft legal and policy arguments, and act on innovative litigation strategies, to keep the law evolving..

302/Animal Law Seminar

The increasingly popular (yet polarizing) area of animal law spans a broad spectrum, as animals play roles in agriculture, research, entertainment, contracts and property disputes, trusts and wills, torts litigation, and criminal law.  This seminar focuses on recent case law and statutory developments across the spectrum, with particular emphasis on creative litigation and lobbying strategies used in the pursuit of higher welfare standards.

5406/Animal Rights Jurisprudence

A discussion of legal rights for nonhuman animals, the sources and characteristics of fundamental rights, why nonhuman animals are presently denied them, why all humans are presently entitled to them, whether they should be available for nonhumans under the common law and, if they should, which rights should nonhuman animals have, which animals should have them, and what strategies are available for obtaining them.

5407/Animal Welfare and Agricultural Trade

Surveys U.S. and E.U. animal welfare, environmental, food safety, and economic regulatory schemes implicated in farmed animal food production.Case law and case studies illustrate how the E.U.'s stricter animal welfare and food safety standards have led to trade treaty disputes, and how the WTO addresses them.

5307/Animals and the Law

This course considers the tensions inherent in trying to serve the needs of humans and animals, plus constitutional limitations of justifiability, due process, and First Amendment guarantees. Students  become familiar with litigation tools commonly used in animal law practice.    Please see individual class descriptions by term.

5412/Biodiversity Protection

An examination of what biodiversity is, the growing threats to it, and U.S. and international laws to combat those threats. The course focuses on current controversies to highlight legal, scientific, and political strategies for protecting biodiversity. Particular emphasis is placed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

415/Biotechnology - Legal and Ethical Considerations

Over the past decade, discoveries in molecular biology have given rise to controversial new technology based on the maniulation and transfer of genes.  This course considers some of the legal and ethical issues surrounding the application of genetic engineering to food, agriculture, and gene therapy.  The course also covers the patenting of genes, cells, and organisms.

5413/Biotechnology Law and Ethics

This course looks at the U.S. biotechnology regulatory system and ethical ramifications of patents, cloning, and transgenic food.

5210/CERCLA Liability and Cleanup

Through this course students will become familiar with the statute that authorizes the cleanup of hazardous sites.  Students will sharpen their statutory, case and policy analysis skills, Traditional tort concepts of strict, joint and several liability will be examined in the context of hazardous site cleanup.  Related issues such as corporate structure, settlement, divisibility, apportionment, contribution and allocation of liability will also be addressed.

5425/Clean Transportation Law and Policy

Transportation is the leading source of climate pollution in the United States. This course is focused on a key pathway to reduce those harmful emissions: the electrification of our cars, trucks, and buses. We’ll examine the current federal landscape for regulation of tailpipe emissions and the range of clean transportation policy options, including a particular focus on the role of electric utilities and how electric vehicles can support a smarter, cleaner electricity grid.

5421/Clean Water Act

An examination of the key provisions of the Clean Water Act, including technology-based requirements, effluent limitations, water quality standards, permitting, enforcement, control of polluted runoff, and resolution of interstate disputes. The course provides significant practice with interpretation of statutes and regulations and evaluating proposed legislation.

5343/Climate Change Adaptation in Human Systems

Examines the legal challenges raised for society to adapt to the impacts of climate change.  Students will examine the confusion and inadequacy of current legal and policy structures to address new risks, and the need for alternative tools in light of rapidly changing circumstances.

5212/Climate Change and the Law

Explores lawyers' involvement in the formulation and implementation of United States foreign and national defense policy through the examination variety of domestic, constitutional, and international law issues such as authority for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, intelligence gathering at home and abroad, detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects, planning for the next terrorist attack, protection of sensitive government information, and other current topics.Perspective & AWR 

477/Climate Change Litigation

Climate litigation has brought together a coalition of states, environmentalists, and green economic interests. This course reviews the various statutory and common law claims being tried, the kinds of remedies being sought, and the jurisdictional and evidentiary obstacles that must be overcome.

5214/Climate Change Mitigation

Addresses current legal, policy, and economic incentives and problems in our attempt to mitigate our carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse gasses to a more tolerable level. Examines on-going controversies and initiatives at the local, state, regional, national, and international level.

5336/Climate Change, Extinction and Adaptation

Students examine the ecological, social and ethical consequences of climate change impacts on the natural world. After reviewing climate disruption's potential to invoke significant habitat modification and biological impoverishment, students consider various legal and policy options to address both the phenomenon of climate change and its effects.

5478/Climate Change, Food Security and Environmental Justice

This course addresses the legal landscape of global hunger, and the ways in which climate change, population growth and economic inequality intersect with food security law and policy challenges.

5365/Climate Change: The Power of Taxes

This seminar explores the ways in which tax systems can effect change in the energy consumption behavior of business, industry, and consumers.  The seminar addresses issues of theory, policy, politics, and law and --while focusing on climate change-- provides students with a framework for understanding how and when to use tax measures to address other environmental problems.

424/Coastal Zone Management

The field of coastal zone management (CZM) takes on large goals -- understanding the effects of human actions on coastal ecosystems, preventing future habitat destruction, rstoring damaged areas and resource stocks, and establishing sustainable use practices.

5122/Communications, Advocacy and Leadership

Designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to operate effectively in a variety of environmental careers. Topics include communications to achieve public policy aims; development and implementation of legislative and policy campaigns; and management of environmental enterprises.

420/Community Planning in Practice

This course covers key issues as they can be addressed at the community level as components of effective local land use planning. Both regulatory and nonregulatory tools to implement plans are reviewed. A broad overview of the evolution of land use planning in this country and elsewhere, as well as a comparison among the states, is provided. Smart growth and its barriers are discussed.

5306/Comparative Environmental Law Research Seminar

A research and writing seminar that provides a framework and faculty supervision for students to engage in comparative environmental law research. While the seminar is designed primarily to support VLS students participating in the US-China joint student research projects and will focus generally on China, the seminar is sufficiently broad to accommodate students interested in researching the environmental law systems of other countries. Perspective & AWR.

427/Conservation Land Trusts

This course explores land trust techniques as voluntary, non-regulatory methods for protecting conservation lands.  Topics include the history and philosophy of land trusts, land protection methods, legal and tax implications, management and stewardship of conservation lands, and non-profit organization issues.  Specific techniques including conservation restrictions, purchase of development rights, land acquisition, and estate planning will be examined in detail.  Field trips and case studies of conservation projects will provide illustration of course materials.

422/Current Issues in Western Resource Litigation

Using the ESA-protected bull trout as a paradigm, students will first explore how an imperiled species affects natural resource management (timber, minerals, water) in national forests in the West.

5521/Earth Law

Examines assumptions underlying environmental, constitutional, corporate, and other laws, and how those assumptions impede our ability to live cooperatively and sustainably with the natural world. Identifies legal, governance, and economic systems that better recognize the inherent rights of all people and the natural world.


Explores the principles of ecology using an interdisciplinary approach and field-based work. Course work stresses the inventorying of biotic and physical components of a landscape, examining how these components are distributed, and determining what forces drive these patterns. Topics include interpreting the natural and cultural histories of a landscape, biodiversity conservation, and the scientific method, among others.

5110/Ecology of Food and Agriculture

A critical examination of several case studies drawn broadly from the science, law, politics, economics and policy of food and agriculture.  The course also has the broader goals of teaching the student to critically read the scientific literature, and to effectively apply science in diverse legal and political settings.

5405/Ecosystem Conservation Strategies

Focuses on the conservation theory behind landscape scale projects and specific implementation actions. Case studies draw conclusions for lawyers and practitioners. Materials draw on actual cases and projects involving The Nature Conservancy and others.

5497/End Use Energy Efficiency

This course describes the reasons for, techniques of, and results from, energy efficiency measures in leading programs around the United States. In exploring how leaders maximize energy efficiency results from the home and business to the grid, the course will explore the systems, policy, and legal basis that legitimize energy efficiency as an energy resource and assure societal trust in the outcomes.

5226/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.

5228/Energy Regulation, Markets 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.

5419/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.

417/Environmental Agriculture and Biotechnology Patent Law

As our society continues to develop greener ways of living and doing business, "green" technologies have become increasingly important. In addition, we are becoming more efficient in other ways, including, agricultural methods and health care treatments. This course provides students the opportunity to learn how intellectual property law operates to help support the development and protection of new technologies that impact our environment and the way we live.

5417/Environmental Agriculture and Biotechnology Patent Law

    Please see individual class descriptions by term.

5500/Environmental Aspects of Business Transactions

Introduces 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.

Please see individual class descriptions by term.

5220/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.

5561/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.

5305/Environmental Ethics Seminar

This seminar introduces selected foundations of environmental reasoning:  intrinsic value theory, biocentrism, utilitarianism, ecofeminism, deep ecology, social ecology, and religion/spirituality.  These theoretical approaches are applied to concrete environmental issues.  A central goal of the course is to assist students in developing a personal and professional environmental ethic.

435/Environmental Forecasting - Planning and Policy

Understanding the implications of policy and law, as well as planning for the future, often involves forecasting the outcome of complex relationships. For example, land use growth impacts transportation infrastructure, which, in turn, affects future land use growth. The importance of this and other relationships is constantly being revealed and incorporated into forecasting techniques. This course considers how forecasting is performed and reviewed within a legal framework.

5310/Environmental Health Law Seminar

Environmental health law uses federal environmental law and state public health law to address human health impacts resulting from exposure to physical, chemical, biological, and social factors in the environment.  This seminar will cover a range of subject areas, including toxic torts, lead poisoning prevention, food protection, and pesticides.  Public policy, and the role of government as policymaker and regulator, will be emphasized.  Students will write a paper on a chosen topic and present their research to the class.

231/Environmental Insurance Law and Litigation

Every lawyer, in private practice, in the business sector, or in government, is likely to be confronted with insurance issues.  This is no different in the context of environmental insurance issues.  This course is intended to provide a broad based introduction to insurance law generally, and more specifically with respect 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.

5229/Environmental Issues in Business Transactions

An exploration the types of environmental risks and issues that are commonly confronted in a variety of business-related transactions such as the acquisition of all of the stock of a company, asset purchases, real estate deals, leases and financings. Special focus on how the environmental issues in transactions are identified and managed in the course of a deal. The unique environmental issues associated with the purchase and redevelopment of contaminated properties or so-called Brownfield sites are also covered.

5446/Environmental Justice

Examines the issues of environmental justice from an environmental law perspective and from a civil rights law perspective. Explores how environmental justice issues are framed, addressed, and resolved through litigation and mediation n the U.S. and internationally.

5445/Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development

An examination of environmental justice from an environmental law and a civil rights law perspective, including how environmental justice issues are framed, addressed, and resolved through litigation and mediation in the U.S.  Also a study of how developing countries and countries with economies in transition face numerous challenges in their efforts to achieve sustainable development.

5320/Environmental Justice Seminar

The seminar will address discrimination, distributional, and justice concerns about the benefits and burdens of environmental protection and natural resource management.  A significant portion of the course will be devoted to issues of race and poverty, with a special focus on the environmental justice movement (including the special situation of Indian tribes).  Another focus will be equity issues in the international context, including tensions between industrialized and developed countries due to the environment and environmental human rights.

5115/Environmental Law

Please see class descriptions by term.

5449/Environmental Litigation Workshop

This course will provide students with intensive, practical experience with application of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the context of civil environmental litigation.

5560/Environmental Protection and the Law of Armed Conflict

Explores the intersection between international environmental law, the law of armed conflict, and international humanitarian law, and the role of environmental protection in post-conflict reconstruction. An overview of relevant international law and an exploration of the role of international environmental norms in conflict and post-conflict situations.

499/Environmental Writing and Advocacy

A successful environmental professional need to possess the ability to advocate, counsel, investigate, persuade, research, and educate. This course will develop those skills through various writing and oral advocacy projects. In addition to other writing projects, students will compose a Freedom of Information Act request, draft a public comment letter, write a grant proposal letter of inquiry, and create an environmental communication campaign. Different skills will be emphasized through the exploration of these diverse types of writing.

5120/Environmental Writing and Advocacy

A successful environmental professional need to possess the ability to advocate, counsel, investigate, persuade, research, and educate.  This course will develop those skills through various writing and oral advocacy projects.  In addition to other writing projects, students will compose a Freedom of Information Act request, draft a public comment letter, write a grant proposal letter of inquiry, and create an environmental communication campaign.  Different skills will be emphasized through the exploration of these diverse types of writing.

5227/Environmentalism in America

Explores what has happened to the environment and environmentalism in America since the first Earth Day in 1970. Considerable time is spent on proposals for a revamped or even new American environmentalism. Using scenario analysis, the course looks ahead at what the future might hold and what accounts for different possible outcomes.

5510/Essentials of Electric Grid: Engineering

The engineering realities of energy infrastructure systems can greatly constrain the choices that lawyers and policy analysts might otherwise make. This module will cover the engineering fundamentals inherent in electric power grids and will explain how these engineering realities affect market and regulatory choices.

5512/Essentials of Electric Grid: Legal

This module explores the expanding field of renewable energy development. It reviews local, state, and federal laws and policies that promote (and impede) such sources. Aside from the environmental and climate implications, there is nothing less at stake in the push for renewable energy than the very nature of our existing energy institutions. This module offers a brief look at various alternative mechanisms for delivering energy services including emerging models for relying on distributed generation.

5511/Essentials of Electric Grid: Business

Electric vehicles (EVs) are not just the way of the future; they are biggest growth opportunity for our electric utilities in nearly a century.

5335/Extinction and Climate Change

Human activities are causing a global mass extinction of plants and animals that rivals the five great extinction events over the earth's geologic history. Historically, habitat loss, overharvest, introduction of invasive species and pollution have been the principal causes of this "Sixth Great Extinction."  There is now a strong scientific consensus that the greatest threat to global biodiversity is climate change caused by anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide.

5380/Food Regulation and Policy

Presently, the United States is experiencing a resurgence in public concern over the safety of our food supply due to biotechnology, pesticide use, and unsafe food packaging, etc. This course will introduce students to the laws and policies that govern food regulation and policy in the United States.

5383/Food System Justice and Sustainability

This is a seminar on the impacts of our current globalized food system on the struggling margins that are impacted by individual production methods and inequitable distribution of healthy food. The course will examine the policy and program options that could help create a Good Food environment, where food is healthy, affordable, and sustainably and fairly produced.

5337/Frontier Issues in Environmental Law

This seminar identifies cutting edge ecological problems and addresses the potential of science, legal regimes and public policy to tackle frontier (i.e., not yet fully discovered and appreciated) environmental concerns that threaten public welfare and the world's natural resources.  From the perspective of environmental science and law, and through various media and scholarly sources, students will seek out those frontier and under-discussed environmental concerns of most interest, and suggest how we might learn from existing legal and policy regimes to better deal with these concerns.

5337/Frontier Issues in Environmental Law and Policy

This seminar identifies cutting edge ecological problems and addresses the potential of science, legal regimes and public policy to tackle frontier (i.e. not yet fully discovered and appreciated) environental concerns that threaten public welfare and the world's natural resources.

475/Global Climate Change

The heat is on, in the courts as well as the biosphere. Frustrated with the slow governmental response to the growing menace of climate change, advocates are turning to the courts to goad agencies into action and to seek damages and injunctions against industrial sources of greenhouse gases (GHG). Climate litigation has brought together an intriguing coalition of states, environmentalists and "green" economic interests. Emboldened by the landmark decision of the U.S.

5370/Global Energy and Climate Policy

  Offers a detailed assessment of the most advanced commercially available technologies for strengthening global energy security, mitigating the effects of climate change, and enhancing resilience through adaptation and geo-engineering. The course also evaluates the barriers to the deployment of these technologies and critically reviews public policy options and behavior changes crucial to their adoption.

5478/Global Food Security and Social Justice

This course explores the legal landscape of global hunger: the definition of "food security"; food security risks; global food governance organizations and legal instruments; assessing and monitoring food security; food related human rights concerns; the current status of global food security; and the international NGO's strategies for policy advocacy against hunger.

451/Global Impacts of Energy Use

The use of energy is a significant source of many local, national, and global environmental problems including urban smog and climate change.  At the same time, the effective utilizationof energy has been closely associated with development.  Many new technologies appear to offer substantial promise for achieving economic goals consistent with improving environmental quality.  This course will explore the interconnected nature of these issues beginning with an examination of the relationship between energy, development, and environmental quality.

5404/Green Marketing Law

Consumer demand for environmental-preferential products is increasing. Whether intential or not, the potential to greenwash consumers has also grown. Students will consider legal decisions and public policy questions raised by environmental claims and rapidly evolving methods of marketing - print and television to social media and mobile devices.

5442/Human Rights and the Environment

The links in theory and in law between the enjoyment of internationally recognized human rights and protection of the environment. The value and limits of procedural rights of access to information, public participation, and remedies in environmental law, as well as the case law of human rights bodies finding environmental degradation to constitute a breach of various human rights such as life, health, home life, and privacy.

107/Intro Am Legal System: Com Law, Legislation, Reg

This course provides foreign-trained lawyers with a thorough introductory grounding in the U.S. legal system, environmentally-relevant common law, constitutional law, legislative and regulatory regimes, and the skills needed to access and utilize appropriate materials. Designed primarily for lawyers trained in the civil code system, this class will train students to effectively read and analyze cases, read and interpret statues and regulations, and understand areas of authority derived from each.

5108/Introduction to Agriculture and Food Law and Policy

This survey course brings together American law impacting agriculture and food and explores the traditional divisions between agriculture, food, and environmental regulation. The course provides a hard look at the agriculture and food production sector and involves not only an examination of traditional farming and food safety policies but the ways in which these policies intersect with environmental law and health care policy, as well as important sectors from local land use planning to international trade.

5118/Introduction to Law

An introduction to the fields of legal analysis, research, and writing through the study of environmental statutes and case law. The course explores research and investigatory techniques, citation form, legal reasoning, writing skills, and professionalism.    

117/Introduction to Legal Studies

This course introduces the fields of legal analysis, research, and writing through the study of environmental statutes and case law.  It also explores research and investigatory techniques, citation form, legal reasoning, writing skills, and professionalism.  Course content will include legal research, the legal system, the role of the courts, how to read laws and regulations and how to handle complex statutes, and legislation. It will also cover constitutional law, civil procedure, contracts, and torts, as those topics relate to environmental issues.

5119/Introduction to the Study of Law

An introduction to the fields of legal analysis, research, and writing through the study of environmental statutes and case law. The course explores research and investigatory techniques, citation form, legal reasoning, writing skills, and professionalism.

5345/Land and the Law of Takings

When does the government go "too far" in regulating land use without compensating the landowner?  This seminar traces the development of the constitutional regulatory takings doctrine in the United States-why it developed, what lines it draws, what voids have not yet been filled, how existing case law applies to various types of situations and whether the lines need to be redrawn by the courts or by legislatures to meet more fully the complex, competing needs of our society.

5474/Land Conservation Law

Examines the tools available to preserve ecological diversity, historic places, working lands, scenic viewsheds, and open space, such as conservation easements, purchase of sensitive lands, and private/public partnerships for land conservation. The course provides a practical understanding of both the legal and nonlegal dimensions of land conservation transactions involving conservation easements.

5239/Land Transactions and Finance

An introduction to land transaction and finance, covering the study of the title system, title insurance and land contracts, the private development process, and modern real estate financing, including private financing and public financing. The course also introduces the public-private development process including redevelopment, military base conversion and Brownfield's redevelopment.

5125/Land Use Regulation

A basic course in land use law.  Covers planning and all manner of private and public land use regulation from common interest communities, to subdivisions, to zoning, to variances, to planned development districts, to transit-oriented development, to traditional neighborhood design, to form-based codes, to growth management.

5472/Law of Ecosystem Management

The concept of ecosystem management is sweeping through federal and state resource agencies, altering their orientation toward resource use and conservation issues, but what is the law of ecosystem management?  This course explores that question beginning with an introduction to the concept of ecosystem management-its history, principles, and current state of play in concrete policy settings.  The course then explores laws and regulations relating to the six types of ecosystems often described in ecosystem management literature-forests, grasslands, freshwater, coastal and marine, fragile and h

5342/Legal Adaptation to Global Warming

Most leading scientists and policy makers agree that, even if the international community acts promptly to limit future greenhouse gas emissions, levels of carbon and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will continue to rise.   Future accumulations of greenhouse gases are generally predicted to produce significant environmental effects, including higher sea levels, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, reductions in snowfall and the extent of glaciers, and increasingly intense storms.

473/Legal Issues in Land Conservation Transactions

Increasingly important in our efforts to preserve ecological diversity, historic places, working lands, scenic viewsheds, open space, and public uses of land are conservation tools and processes such as the donation and purpose of conservation easements. Students will research and review the swiftly developing body of law and legal issues surrounding the use of conservation easements, and will gain a practical understanding of both the legal and nonlegal dimensions of land conservation transactions involving conservation easements.

5381/Local Farm and Food Law in Practice

Teaches the nuts and bolts of providing legal services to farmers and food entrepreneurs (producers/retailers/restaurants), drawing from the rich examples of farmer and food entrepreneurs locally. Such skills are needed to equip students with real world legal knowledge for those students seeking to provide legal services in this area or who wish to start an entrepreneurial career in food and agriculture. A JD skills class. 

5381/Local Farm and Food Law in Practice

Teaches the nuts and bolts of providing legal services to farmers and food entrepreneurs (producers/retailers/restaurants), drawing from the rich examples of farmer and food entrepreneurs locally. Such skills are needed to equip students with real world legal knowledge for those students seeking to provide legal services in this area or who wish to start an entrepreneurial career in food and agriculture.

454/Marine Biodiversity

Long neglected by lawmakers despite its essential ecological functions, the marine environment has increasingly been the focal point of conservation and balanced natural resource utilization efforts.  This course will consider the natural components of estuarine, coastal, and marine ecosystems and some of the conservation issues confronting them.  There will be a review of domestic and international laws and treaties relating to coastal management, pollution, protected areas, endangered species, fish, marine mammals, wetlands, and seabed mineral and hydrocarbon resources.

469/Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

This course is an introduction to natural resource damages (NRD), an extremely complicated and cutting-edge area of environmental law. At least five different federal statutes (CERCLA, OPA, NMSA, NPA, and CWA), along with innumerable state and tribal laws, provide for recovery of damages for natural resource injuries by trustees.

5235/Natural Resources Law

Please see individual class descriptions by term.

5346/New Frontiers in Environmental Policies

This seminar explores the proposition that successfully coping with today's environmental threats requires deeper challenges to our prevailing system of political economy than mainstream environmentalism in the United States has been willing to mount. It develops the idea that a new American environmentalism is needed and with it new environmental policy and law that go beyond the traditional realm of environmental affairs.

5476/Nuclear Power and Public Policy

Encompasses the regulation of nuclear safety, economics, and technology, as well as nuclear waste, nuclear proliferation, and nuclear energy policy. The primary focus is on nuclear energy in the U.S., but European and Asian nuclear programs are also considered.

5468/Oil and Gas Production and the Environment

A review of the major contracts used to explore for and produce oil and gas in the U.S. and internationally. The course covers leasing practices on public lands in the U.S. and the acquisition of host government contracts from foreign governments, and provides an understanding of the future of petroleum as a resource, the technology used to produce it, and the externalities of production.

470/Pesticides and the Environment

Since Silent Spring first awakened the public to the risks of pesticides, policymakers have endeavored to balance the environmental costs of pesticides with the societal benefits of an affordable food supply and control of devastating insect-borne diseases. In the past few years, a number of pesticide issues have received significant attention from the courts and the Congress, including the relationship between pesticide law and both the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.

5540/Public Health and Food and Agriculture Policy

An in depth exploration of agricultural and food laws and policies and the regulatory mechanisms supporting them. The covers public health issues including Farm Bill nutrition assistance programs, food access, obesity and malnutrition, food safety and food-borne diseases, genetically modified foods, organic and other certification schemes, and the debate about food systems and sustainability.

5462/Public Lands Management - Montana Field Study

A comparative approach to competing legal mandates and diverse philosophies that make federal land management a lively topic not only in the West, but throughout the country. Resource extraction, preservation, and sustainable/multiple-use concepts are addressed.

5348/RCRA:Solid and Hazardous Waste Regulation

Examines the regulation of solid and hazardous waste under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Solid Waste Act, RCRA's overlap with other statutes, and the policy implications of the statute.  The course addresses the regulatory and policy problems associated with recycling, resource recovery, waste minimization, land disposal, incineration, underground storage tanks, and state and federal regulation of the generation, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.

5349/Regulating the Marine Environment

This course examines the interaction of state, federal, and international regimes in the regulation of the marine environment.  After a brief historical introduction, the course looks at private right, the public trust, and the police power in the context of state authority over coastal lands and navigable waters.  We then consider the sources of federal power over marine and maritime matters and the relationship of federal preemption of state law and federal incentives for state regulation.

5490/Renewable Energy and Other Alternative Fuels

Explores the emerging field of renewable and alternative energy supplies. The course reviews local, state, and federal laws and policies that regulate such sources; considers emerging distributed generation models; surveys the range of emerging technologies; and considers proposed strategies for reducing greenhouse gases.

5492/Renewable Energy Law and Policy

This course explores the expanding field of renewable and alternative energy supplies. It reviews local, state and federal laws and policies that promote (and impede) such sources, and considers emerging distributed generation models. Turning to technology-specific evaluations, it surveys the range of emerging technologies and looks in depth into some specific models of high potential or value, concluding with consideration of proposed strategies for reducing greenhouse gases.

5550/Renewable Energy Project Finance and Development

An in-depth look at the legal and regulatory issues associated with the development and project financing of renewable energy projects such as wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal, and the basic terms and conditions of the contracts that are necessary for a successful project financing, such as power purchase agreements, engineering contracts, fuel supply arrangements, and operation and maintenance agreements.

5550/Renewable Energy Project Finance And Development

This course will provide an in-depth look at the legal and regulatory issues associated with the development and project financing of renewable energy projects such as wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal. The course will explain the various ownership structures that are used for developing an energy project, such as LLC arrangements and partnership agreements.

5350/Risk Assessment

Learn about risk assessment by living it. In this class, the instructor and students will work together to write a comment letter, petition, white paper and/or FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.

5112/Science for Environmental Law

Introduces students to the science critical to environmental law and policy, including climate science, air pollution, toxicology, and natural resource management. It also introduces students to scientific thinking and culture, and explores some of the challenges involved in effectively using science in legal and policy decision-making.

460/Science of Risk Assessment

Technical issues underlying Superfund, RCRA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and FIFRA will be a mystery no more!  This course is designed for people interested in toxic chemicals who are not highly trained in the sciences.  It draws fromthe key scientific fields inrisk assessment to provide students with a solid, technical understanding of pollution problems and solutions.  Lectures cover specialities such as chemistry, toxicology, epidemiology, ecotoxicology, and environmental modeling, among others.

5356/Scientific Controversies

Many public policy debates are deeply rooted in science. Prominent examples include global climate change, abortion, homosexuality, DNA forensics, evolution, genetically modified organisms, and debates over the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs. Sometimes the underlying science is sound, but it is seriously distorted when communicated to the public. Other times, litigation or polarized public debate leads to seriously biased scientific research being conducted in the first place, as has sometimes happened with litigation-driven medical research.

466/Strategic Planning for Sustainability

Environmental issues have emerged as an integral component of business and government strategy, emphasizing the interdependent reality of economic, environmental, and social concerns.  This course will attempt to simulate the decision environment facing a manager.  Focus will be on the concepts of strategy and strategic management as they apply to the organization as a whole, and to the integratin of the concepts and practices of sustainable development into business and government strategies.

5420/Sustainable Community Planning in Practice

Covers key issues that can be addressed at the community level as components of effective local land use planning.  Reviews regulatory and nonregulatory tools to implement plans and examines topics such as the evolution of land use planning, and smart growth and its barriers.

5408/The Law of Animals in Agriculture

Covers the evolution and regulation of animal agriculture in America, contrasted with farmed animal welfare policies in other developed nations. Will evaluate the long-term sustainability of CAFO food production specifically and animal food production generally. Students will explore the pressures from increased international trade in agricultural products.

5209/The Law of Toxics and Hazardous Substances

Examines CERCLAs broad liability and cost recovery provisions, emergency response and cleanup requirements that extend beyond the usual Superfund sites.  Brownfields, natural resources damages, community involvement, recent Supreme Court decisions and statutory amendments will also be addressed.  The course will examine how parties escape or limit  liability through due diligence, defenses,  pollution prevention, settlement, and cost allocation.

5410/The Modern Farm Bill

Introduces students to the breadth of policies and legal authorities included in the Farm Bill that Congress re-evaluates every 5 years. Time will be spent on farm safety nets, conservation and nutrition policies. This course will also demonstrate the depth that a modern farm bill reaches with impacts on private working lands and consumers. International trade, clean energy, forestry, rural development, and overall food policies will be reviewed..

5246/Water Quality

An in depth analysis of the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Ocean Dumping Act, along with relevant regulations, policies and case law. Other federal statutes are covered more selectively, along with state laws. Regulation of groundwater contamination is included as well as tort claims for damages.

5245/Water Resources Law

Water is the planet's most precious natural resource. Deciding how it will be shared among competing demands is one of a society's most challenging questions. Water Resources Law is a review of the law and policies concerned with the allocation of water resources in the United States.  This course will examine the three main systems of water law in the United States: Eastern riparian systems, the prior appropriation doctrine of the West, and the nationally diverse laws regulating the use of groundwater.

5250/Watershed Management and Protection

Taking "ecosystem approach" to the study of watersheds and the laws that attempt to restore and maintain them, the course contrasts the current fragmented approach of pollution control and land use law with the kind of integration that is needed to deal more effectively with the problems affecting watersheds. Topics include the public trust doctrine, water allocation, pollution control, floodplains and wetlands conservation, storm water controls, "factory farms," endangered species preservation,  and ecological restoration.

492/Wetlands Law and Policy

Wetlands and related waters provide numerous beneficial services for people and wildlife.  Westlands are also subject to enormous development interests.  These tensions are becoming magnified in the era of climate change.  Most environmental lawyers working with land use, public land, coastal, real estate, wildlife, or other types of law encounter issues related to wetlands law and policy.  This course will provide a survey of federal wetlands regulation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and related laws and discussion on international protections.

450/Wildlife Crimes: Nature, Scope and Response

IAn introduction to the domestic statutes and international treaties that regulate and/or prohibit particular types of unlawful wildlife taking and trafficking, with emphasis on the enforcement schemes and methods used to address these crimes. The most common types of wildlife crimes are discussed within a context of the laws and treaties at the state, federal, and international level. The course also includes an examination of the CITES treaty..