Examines a topic, theme, or problem at the intersection of law, economics, and public policy.
This course will focus on the economic, historical, political and ethical roots and impacts of environmental law and policy, at both the domestic and international levels. The course will thus examine the environment which gave rise to environmental laws, including treaties; how it has changed over time; and what factors characterize the current U.S. and world perspectives on these issues. This will include an analysis of the current “sustainability” movement, and the global warming controversy. Also included will be an analysis of the characteristics of the major U.S. environmental laws and treaties.
Student learning goals
To understand the historical, economic, political, ethical and sociological roots of environmental laws.
To understand what international laws have been enacted to protect what aspects of the environment.
To understand current international debates on environmental issues.
To understand what legal doctrines the courts use when reviewing environmental laws passed by Congress, the states, and administrative agencies.
To understand how environmental laws affect business practices, and the components of a compliant management program.
To understand scientific principles that affect and determine the content of environmental laws.
General method of instruction
A combination of lectures, discussions, exercises (some will be in-class group exercises, and others will be individual take-home exercises), guest speakers, films, and an in-class team presentation.
An interest in the general topic and an appreciation for its complexity in the current world,which requires a global perspective on all activities in which a company or person may engage. A background in environmental science would be helpful to increase your understanding of the roots and basic components of environmental laws.
Class assignments and grading
Exercises, consisting of the application of general principles and concepts to hypothetical situations. Weekly quizzes and a take-home final exam; quizzes will be a combination of multiple choice and essay questions, while the take-home final will be essay questions. A paper on the historical roots of environmental laws in the U.S. A paper on a local activity involving an environmental assessment. In-class presentation on recent hot topics in the environmental arena.
Each of the above items will be weighted by percentages.