All VLS Courses
Renewable Energy Project Finance and Development
An in-depth look at the legal and regulatory issues associated with the development and project financing of renewable energy projects such as wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal, and the basic terms and conditions of the contracts that are necessary for a successful project financing, such as power purchase agreements, engineering contracts, fuel supply arrangements, and operation and maintenance agreements.
A science and law course taught from the perspective of a scientist. This course examines the science, methods, principles and limitations of risk assessment and, more broadly, teaches methods of evaluating and critiquing scientific information.
Science for Environmental Law
Introduces students to the science critical to environmental law and policy, including climate science, air pollution, toxicology, and natural resource management. It also introduces students to scientific thinking and culture, and explores some of the challenges involved in effectively using science in legal and policy decision-making.
Download the 2013 Summer Course Syllabus
Through case studies, this course explores the manipulation of scientific information underpinning some public policy controversies such us global climate change, abortion, homosexuality, DNA forensics, evolution, genetically modified organisms, and debates over the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs. The course also has the broader goals of teaching the student to critically read and identify political or social bias on scientific literature.
State and Local Government
Examines the interaction between federal, state and local governments, with particular attention to resource management, pollution control, and human rights. The course also covers non-state jurisdictions such as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Indian Country.
Sustainable Community Planning in Practice
Covers key issues that can be addressed at the community level as components of effective local land use planning. Reviews regulatory and nonregulatory tools to implement plans and examines topics such as the evolution of land use planning, and smart growth and its barriers.
The Tools of Environmental Law
Introduces students to the various legal methods of achieving environmental improvement. Topics covered include market forces and emission trading; handling inspections and enforcement actions; environmental litigation and complex causation; acquiring and using information; risk assessment; and methods to account for and transfer environmental risks in business transactions.
Three Essentials of the Electric Grid
This course sets out, in three linked modules, the fundamental knowledge that professionals should have for working in the closely intertwined fields of energy and the environment. Students may take one, two, or three modules for one credit each.
Module A: Engineering Essentials
The engineering realities of electric power grids and natural gas pipelines greatly constrain the choices that lawyers and policy analysts might otherwise make. This module will cover the engineering fundamentals inherent in the current and expected energy infrastructure.
Module B: Business Essentials
The energy and electric power industries in the U.S. are facing unprecedented challenges in meeting our society’s demands for low-cost, high-reliability energy and electricity with lower environmental impacts. This module will introduce the major financial and economic factors that energy companies use in making production and investment decisions, and how emerging environmental regulations might affect these decisions. The module will also cover deregulated market structures in the petroleum, natural gas and electric power industries.
Module C: Legal Essentials
This module will provide an overview of the fundamentals of energy law in both the US and the European Union. It will focus on what financiers, engineers, and economists need to know about energy law in order to work together and with lawyers in the energy world. The course will address some of the most important problems faced by energy project development, including facility siting, environmental issues, and authority fragmentation. In every issue a comparative perspective will be adopted.
Download Module A Syllabus
Download 2013 Module B Syllabus
Download 2013 Module C Syllabus
An in-depth analysis of the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Ocean Dumping Act, along with relevant regulations, policies and case law. Other federal statutes are covered more selectively, along with state laws. Regulation of groundwater contamination is included as well as tort claims for damages.
Water Resources Law
Examines the three main systems of water law in the United States: Eastern riparian systems, the prior appropriation doctrine of the West, and the nationally diverse laws regulating the use of groundwater. The course will also review federal water allocation issues, interstate water disputes, tribal water rights matters, and will highlight contemporary water allocation dilemmas throughout the country.