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Course Details

Environmental Law (Welton)

Spring 2023   LAW 634-001  

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Additional Information

Skills Training
Other Professional Skills: Statutory interpretation and familiarity with administrative agency documents.

5% Participation,
95% Exam,
Other (I particularly value everyone’s consistent, active participation in classroom discussions. For this reason, participation can affect your grade positively or negatively by a half-letter (e.g., a B+ could become a B or an A). Participation grades will be based on the quality, not quantity, of your contributions, including those you make to group exercises and other class activities. I will often rely on volunteers but will also utilize a designated “on-call” group each day.)

Short Answer,
Take Home,

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets in person.

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:

- Class sessions are regularly recorded. If you are absent due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I can send you an email with instructions for accessing the recording for the class session(s) you missed.

- I will make PowerPoint slides or other class materials routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

Meeting Times/Location
TR 3:00PM - 4:20PM
Silverman Hall 280



This introductory course will focus on the variety of legal mechanisms we use in the United States to address environmental harms such as air and water pollution, toxic substances, habitat destruction, and climate change. We focus predominantly on federal law, although its interplay with state law and the theme of federalism come up frequently. The course is organized into seven units: an introductory unit on the theory and tools of environmental regulation, including an introduction to administrative law; topic-specific segments on the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; and a concluding unit that pushes students to synthesize lessons and think beyond these traditional federal statutes.

Over the course of the semester, students will come to understand the theoretical justifications, economic theory, and justice dimensions of environmental law; learn tools to decipher and interpret the complex language and structure of environmental law statutes; appreciate the policy mechanisms available to address environmental problems and the reasons for choosing among them; and develop a broad understanding of the results and consequences of environmental law, its political economy, and the value choices it implicates.

Course Concentrations

Environmental Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of environmental law; Perform legal analysis in the context of environmental law; Communicate effectively on topics related to environmental law; Demonstrate an understanding of how environmental law affects other areas of law.

Administrative and Regulatory Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of administrative and regulatory law and the administrative process, including the role of statutory authorization and work of administrative agencies; Perform legal analysis in the context of administrative and regulatory law; Communicate effectively on topics related to administrative and regulatory law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role administrative and regulatory law play in our legal system and in society as a whole.


"Cases and Materials on Environmental Law" by Daniel A. Farber | Ann E. Carlson | William Boyd
Edition: 10th
Publisher: West Academic Publishing
ISBN: 9781640206120