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Course Details

Environmental Enforcement (Lisa)

Spring 2023   LAW 716-001  

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Joseph Lisa

Lecturer in Law

Additional Information
Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets online.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- If you are absent, due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I can ask for volunteers among your classmates to share their notes with you.

- When you are better, please make an appointment to meet with me and I will review/answer questions about what you missed.

Meeting Times/Location
R 1:00PM - 4:10PM



Numerous articles about the impacts of pollution on environmental resources, wildlife and public health are published every day in media outlets throughout the world. Environmental matters have become an important issue for voters, businesses conducting commercial operations, property owners seeking to development real estate, NGOs lobbying governmental agencies, and members of the public concerned about the future of their families. Environmental laws, like the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and CERCLA, play a central role in governmental efforts to prevent, minimize and mitigate such pollution. However, a clean and healthy environment can be achieved only if the objectives of these laws are met.

This course focuses on what happens in situations where a member of the regulated community is not in compliance with such legal standards. We will examine the unique legal requirements and practicalaspects of the use of a range of enforcement-related authorities, including: Notices of Non-Compliance;Administrative Orders; Civil Judicial Actions; and Criminal Prosecutions. The topics of Citizen Suits, Environmental Justice and Self-Disclosure/Audit Policies will also be explored. Throughout the course, students will learn about the differences attendant in representing members of the regulated community, governmental agencies and the public in enforcement-related matters. The use of case studies will help students better understand the “real life” implications of enforcement actions.

Students will also engage in a series of practical class exercises examining enforcement-related topics from both the government and private sector perspectives, including:

1) Preparing for/Engaging in a Governmental Inspection – counseling government inspectors and facility environmental compliance officers about the issues involved in preparing for and participating in a compliance inspection;

2) Appearing before the EPA Office of Administrative Laws Judges in an Administrative Enforcement Action – understanding the Consolidated Rules of Conduct and how administrative enforcement proceedings differ from actions in federal court;

3) Citizen Suits – counseling a member of the public seeking to initiate a Citizen Suit Action; and

4) Sentencing an Environmental Crimes Defendant – examining the prosecution and defense perspectives at a federal sentencing hearing

Students will also read the book “Faster, Higher, Farther: the Volkswagen Scandal” and participate in a class discussion about enforcement-related aspects of the recent VW defeat device scandal concerning air pollution emissions from certain diesel vehicles.

If you have any questions about the class, please contact me and we can arrange a mutually convenient time to talk.

Note: There is no pre-requisite for this course. Students do NOT need to have prior experience with or an understanding of environmental laws and regulations in order to take this course.


" Environmental Enforcement: Cases and Materials " by Mintz, Joel a.
Edition: 07
Publisher: Carolina A
ISBN: 9781531010300

"Faster, Higher, Farther - The Volkswagen Scandal" by Jack Ewing
Edition: 2017
Publisher: Norton
ISBN: 9780393254501