All VLS Courses
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 Law of Animals in Agriculture
Covers the evolution and regulation of animal agriculture in America, contrasted with farmed animal welfare policies in other developed nations. Will evaluate the long-term sustainability of CAFO food production specifically and animal food production generally. Students will explore the pressures from increased international trade in agricultural products.
Download the 2014 Course Syllabus
The Modern Farm Bill
An introduction to the policies and legal authorities included in the Farm Bill that Congress re-evaluates every 5 years. This course will demonstrate the impact of a modern farm bill on private working lands and consumers. International trade, clean energy, forestry, rural development, and overall food policies will be reviewed.
Download the 2014 Course Syllabus
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 the 2014 Module A Syllabus
Download the 2014 Module B Syllabus
Download the 2014 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.
Watershed Management and Protection
Taking "ecosystem approach" to the study of watersheds and the laws that attempt to restore and maintain them, the course contrasts the current fragmented approach of pollution control and land use law with the kind of integration that is needed to deal more effectively with the problems affecting watersheds. Topics include the public trust doctrine, water allocation, pollution control, floodplains and wetlands conservation, storm water controls, "factory farms," endangered species preservation, and ecological restoration.
Provides a survey of federal wetlands regulation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and related laws and a discussion of international protections. Includes discussions of the basis for federal jurisdiction over wetlands, the fundamentals of the wetlands regulatory process, the role of wetlands in climate change, the relationship to other federal laws, enforcement, international treaties, and other obligations related to wetlands, and scientific and policy issues.
Wildlife Crimes: Nature, Scope, and Response
An introduction to the domestic statutes and international treaties that regulate and/or prohibit particular types of unlawful wildlife taking and trafficking, with emphasis on the enforcement schemes and methods used to address these crimes. The course includes a discussion of the most common types of wildlife crimes and an examination of the CITES treaty.