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News Release

Top 10 Environmental Issues to Watch in 2024 Identified by Vermont Journal of Environmental Law

Monday, January 29, 2024


Environmental law scholars and editors at Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Vermont Journal of Environmental Law have released the "Vermont Law Top 10 Environmental Watch List" for 2024.

From transportation infrastructure to food security to housing and land conservation, the list highlights the most pressing environmental issues bearing on law and policy that will shape the year.

"The 2024 presidential election cycle is a familiar scene with predicted candidates likely the same as those we had in 2020. While discussions abound about the future political landscape, the real-world toll of climate change continues to intensify, evident in a growing list of repeated flood and fire-related catastrophes," Jennifer Rushlow, and director of VLGS’s Environmental Law Center and dean of the Maverick Lloyd School for the Environment, said. “We hope this latest entry of the Watch List will highlight some battles and perhaps some tools, but for all of our sakes, it should not limit the strategies we choose — because what we’re seeing on the near horizon, frankly, isn’t enough.”

Each item on the Watch List is accompanied by a journal article co-authored by a law student and a law professor; the process of narrowing down and exploring these topics involves close collaboration. Each resulting article unravels the legal framework of the issue, explains why it matters, and offers a creative solution to the issue. The articles are available online at

The 2024 list includes:

      1. Gold-Plating vs. Grid Safety: How Cost-of-Service Ratemaking Creates Tension Between Regulators and Utilities and Slows Grid Hardening

  1. Americans Must Shift Car Culture: Transportation Policy Can Help

  2. Backlogged Projects May Actually See [and Use] the Light of Day in the Near Future

  3. The Global Stocktake Report: Ensuring Our Future

  4. Balancing the Need for Housing and Conserved Land in Vermont

  5. How Can Maine’s Constitutional “Right to Food” Serve as a Foundation for Prioritizing Food System Resilience Across the State of Maine?

  6. Fukushima’s Wastewater Problem: Balancing the Ocean’s Health with an Increasing Need for More Low-Carbon Energy


Founded in 1996 at Vermont Law and Graduate School, the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law provides an accessible forum to discuss contemporary environmental legal issues, publishing high-quality articles authored by academics, practitioners, and students. In addition to its annual Watch List, the journal publishes quarterly issues, hosts an annual symposium, collaborates with other environmental law journals by participating in the Environmental Law Review Syndicate, and brings commentary on environmental legal issues to non-lawyers via its blogs, EcoPerspectives and The Beacon.

To view current and past Top 10 Environmental Watch Lists, visit For more information about environmental programs at Vermont Law and Graduate School, including degrees and clinical training, visit the Environmental Law Center online at


About Vermont Law and Graduate School:

Vermont Law and Graduate School, a private, independent institution, is home to a law school that offers ABA-accredited residential and online hybrid JD programs and a graduate school that offers master’s degrees and certificates in multiple disciplines, including programs offered by the Maverick Lloyd School for the Environment, the Center for Justice Reform and other graduate-level programs emphasizing the intersection of environmental justice, social justice and public policy. Both the law and graduate schools strongly feature experiential clinical and fieldwork learning. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.