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Environmental Law

Environmental Law, Science, and PolicyEnvironmental law is important not only for those who may practice in the area, but for lawyers-as-citizens in a world that is increasingly affected by air and water pollution and the threat of global warming. The full-time and adjunct faculty offer a broad variety of courses in environmental and natural resources law. Some have a local or regional focus, while others cover national and international legal issues. Additional information on the instructors and course offerings can be found in the “Faculty” and “Academic” sections of this Website.

Key Faculty

Professor Kirsten H. Engel received a B.A. degree from Brown University and a J.D. from Northwestern University. She clerked on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and taught at several law schools before coming to Arizona. She also served in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental protection division and the public protection bureau of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General. She teaches and writes in administrative law, international environmental law, property and toxic tort law.

 

Samuel M. Fegtly Professor David A. Gantz received an A.B. from Harvard and J.D. and J.S.M. degrees from Stanford. He clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, served in a law reform project in Costa Rica, was an attorney with the U.S. State Department and a practitioner in Washington, D.C. before joining the law faculty in Arizona. . He has served in NAFTA Chapter 11, 19 and 20 panel proceedings. He writes and teaches in the areas of international trade law, international environmental law, trade and the environment, international business transactions and NAFTA, and directs the LL.M. in international trade law program at Arizona.

 

Morris K. Udall Professor of Law & Public Policy Robert Glennon received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from Brandeis University and A.B. and J.D. degrees from Boston College. He served as a clerk for the U.S. District Court in Boston, a Crown Fellow at Brandeis and law professor at several other law schools before joining the University of Arizona faculty. His courses include water law, the legal history of the Colorado River, constitutional law and federal jurisdiction.

Adjunct Professor John Lacy received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Arizona. He served as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the U.S. Army before entering private practice in Tucson, Arizona. He teaches mining and public land law and oil and gas law.

Carol Rose holds the Visiting Lohse Chair in Water and Natural Resources Law. She is also Tweedy Professor of Law at Yale University. She received an A.B. degree from Antioch College, an M.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University. She is a prolific writer on environmental law, property law and other subjects.

 

Courses

The Colorado River in American History (American Legal History)
This course focuses on the important role that the water of the Colorado River has played in the Southwest. The battle among competing interests to harness the waters of the River, and the fight over the legal rights to use water, consumed the entire twentieth century. By critically examining these fights, aided by reading from other disciplines including environmental history, literature, economics, and ecology, the history of the Colorado River will suggest lessons about current public policy issues as well as insights into American attitudes about nature and natural resources, particularly water.

 

Environmental Advocacy
This course examines three central subject areas: endangered species protections and habitat conservation, market-based approaches to environmental regulation, and climate change policy. Outside speakers will make presentations to the class and discuss their work as part of class seminars. The advocacy component of the class will incorporate in-class exercises for which students will develop positions, both written and oral, in the following contexts: (1) an agency public comment process, (2) an environmental mediation, and (3) an environmental advocacy campaign.

 

Environmental Justice
This course examines the fairness of pollution regulation and natural resource conservation in terms of how they distribute exposure or proximity to environmental “goods” and “bads” according to race, class and ethnicity. It is concerned both with the question of whether inequities exist, and, if so, the proper legal solution that should be applied. Among other topics, the course examines the siting of toxic waste dumps, the use of market-based mechanisms in environmental regulation, the export of hazardous waste to developing countries and questions regarding the fair allocation of the greenhouse gas-absorbing properties of the global atmosphere among all nations.

 

Environmental Law
This survey course covers the major environmental statutes and basic common law doctrines. Topics will include hazardous waste management and cleanup under Superfund and the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act; regulation of toxic substances, including cost-benefit and risk methods, under the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act; pollution control measures under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act; and natural resources management under the Endangered Species Act and (procedurally) the National Environmental Policy Act. The course will also discuss basic administrative procedures, citizen suits, and the doctrine of standing in federal courts.


International Environmental Law
This course will analyze the expanding framework of and the legal process leading to international regulation of the human environment, including regional and international regulation of air and water pollution and the protection of marine mammals and endangered species; the relationship between environmental and trade issues; protection of the “global commons”; conflicts between protecting the environment and economic development; enforcement of international environmental obligations by the United States and other nations; and regional regulation of environmental matters, including the NAFTA and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

 

Land Use Regulation

This course examines the goals, methods and effectiveness of land use regulation. It begins with some long-lived techniques, particularly nuisance law and eminent domain, and then turns to twentieth-century innovations: planning, zoning, subdivision controls, growth controls, and impact review, among others. Some themes will include the constitutional limits on land use controls, the relationship between land use controls and infrastructure development (e.g. water and sewer systems, transportation systems, and parks), and the use of land controls for social, aesthetic, and environmental purposes.

 

Oil & Gas Law
This course will provide interested students with an overview of oil and gas statutes, regulations, and case law, as well as an overview of typical transactions involving oil and gas, such as oil and gas leases, royalty agreements, etc. The course will focus on the legal rules that govern the development of privately owned mineral rights, which often also apply to governmentally owned resources. The course includes an overview of conservation law; rule of capture and correlative rights; how an oil and gas lease works; implied covenants; severed minerals and some of the problems related [e.g., double fractions, meaning of “minerals”]; contracts (support, farmout, operating, drilling); and pooling and unitization.

 

Public and private regulation of Toxic Substances
This course covers both the private regulation of toxic substances through privately-initiated tort actions and the public regulation of toxic substances through government regulation of the manufacture, sale, and distribution of toxic substances. The objectives of the course are to (1) teach the substantive law of toxic torts and the current regulatory approaches to controlling toxic substance exposure; and (2) compare and contrast the institutional framework of the private and public law systems so as to better understand their limitations, biases, and potential to reduce health and environmental harm from toxic substances.

 

Public Lands and Mining
This course examines the acquisition, disposal, and management of the public lands of the United States. Particular emphasis is placed upon the mineral land laws and the laws related to mineral exploration and development of mineral resources. It is designed for those who may represent public land users or organizations concerned with public land use, and for those who anticipate practicing in the rural west.

 

Trade and the Environment
This course will focus on the increasing convergence of international trade law and environmental issues. It will analyze the potential conflicts, the WTO’s dispute settlement system as it affects environmental issues, the use of quotas to meet national environmental goals, WTO treatment of processes and production methods, the applicability of WTO exceptions to environmental actions by national governments, eco-labeling and international trade law, risk assessment under the SPS Agreement, environmental and natural resource subsidies, agricultural subsidies, possible conflicts between the WTO and Multilateral Environmental Agreements, environmental effects of NAFTA’s investment provisions, and the operation of NAFTA’s environmental provisions.

 

Water Law
The course in Water Law traditionally emphasizes state law rules that govern rights to use surface water and groundwater throughout the country. Although we give ample attention to the prior appropriation doctrine, riparian water rights, and various systems for regulating groundwater use, this course also emphasizes how federal law may impact water rights. Increasingly, environmentalists and others claim that there are public rights to water that may take precedence over rights under the prior appropriation system. There is a saying about water that it “flows uphill to wealth and power.” We attempt to understand how politics and economics shape water law doctrines, and we also draw on the science of hydrology, which sheds light on the important contemporary problem of how groundwater pumping interferes with surface flows and often devastates riparian habitats. We also examine the struggle over how to allocate Colorado River water, which has a long history but contemporary ramifications. We also consider the role of federal law, particularly federal reserved water rights claimed by Indian tribes, and the federal government’s long history of attempting to irrigate the West through its Bureau of Reclamation, with special focus on the Central Arizona Project. Finally, we briefly consider how environmental concerns over water quality may impact water quantity allocation decisions and water rights.

 

 

Updated: 08/10/2012