LAW-2053 Environmental Law Survey

Prof. Sharmila Murthy,

3 credits day; 3 credits evening.


WEB-Web course-Courses for which more than one-third of the information is online. Students must have completed 28 credits to enroll in a web course. No more than 15 credits of web courses may be counted toward the JD.


This course will examine the legal mechanisms we use to address environmental harms such as air and water pollution, global climate change, and habitat destruction. We will focus on the key U.S. federal environmental statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. We will also discuss some energy issues that are intricately related to environmental law. We will read the leading cases in which these statutes have been interpreted by courts, including developments in constitutional law that influence environmental law. In addition, we will discuss important matters of policy, including the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change through the use of Executive Power. Students need not be self-identified “environmentalists” to be interested in this course. Nearly every area of law is now affected by environmental regulation, including corporate law, real estate and bankruptcy. The legal issues presented by environmental problems offer ample opportunities for students to develop important and transferable legal skills, including statutory interpretation, constitutional analysis and application of administrative law doctrines.

The class will be taught in an innovative format: the first half will be primarily in person, while the second half will be primarily online. In the second half, students will watch online lectures with integrated PowerPoint slides, and then respond to a series of multiple choice questions. The class will also make use of Blackboard features, such as the online discussion board. This class promises to be exciting, and will also offer more flexibility than a traditional course. This class qualifies as a 'distance education course' under the ABA rules because more than one-third of the instruction will be online.


pointer    Elective Course

pointer    Final Exam Required


<<Course Updated: March 16, 2016>>