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Environmental Justice (LAW-795EJ-001)
This two-credit seminar covers current and thought provoking environmental topics with an umbrella theme of environmental justice - the disproportionate environmental burden borne by people of color, the poor, and indigenous peoples. Our primary focus will be domestic environmental issues, although the course includes one lecture on international access to environmental human rights and some discussions will touch on the international implications of domestic activities (e.g., e-waste export, climate change). Important skills and concepts that will be taught in this course include: roles of lawyers in resolving "place based conflict." The techniques we discuss will be relevant for students considering a variety of practice placements, from NGOs, to government (local/state/federal), to in-house counsel, to private firms, to policy advisors. Strategies for understanding and empowering clients involved in environmental conflicts. Remedies for identified community environmental burdens, including litigation, application of administrative procedures, constitutional law, civil rights law, environmental dispute resolution, and voluntary agreements such as community benefits agreements. Concepts of risk assessment, permitting, federal/state relations, equity, access to information, and lawyering skills. Each student will prepare a 12 minute case study on a current environmental/energy conflict involving land use, community desires, redevelopment, or industrial expansion. The student's presentation should be no more than five PowerPoint slides, and leave approximately three minutes for discussion among Seminar participants. During the course, we will have several guest attorney speakers and undertake a Harvard Program on Negotiation environmental conflict simulation. Throughout the course we will draw from Coal River, a novel about mountaintop removal in West Virginia, to lay a foundation for and to further explore environmental justice issues. 80% of the final grade will be based on a closed book final exam. The exam will consist of short answer questions and hypotheticals, and will draw on the readings and class discussions. Students will be able to take the exam at any time during the exam period. Students will have three hours to complete the exam. The suggested times for the questions total 2 hours, giving students the ability to spend additional time as needed on the questions. 20% of the final grade will be based on class preparedness, classroom exercises, and class participation.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
Not available at this time.
The syllabus is available in the following format(s):