This course will provide an intensive look at California’s approaches to several areas of environmental and natural resources law. California’s environmental regulatory systems raise important legal and policy issues, including questions of federalism, effective governance, equity for marginalized groups, and management of resources under scarcity. California’s approach to regulation differs from that of the federal government in important respects, but the state has also developed structures and substantive laws that overlap or complement federal laws. Litigation by stakeholders plays a unique role in implementing and enforcing some of California’s environmental laws. At the same time, many of our laws have served as models for federal law as well as that of other states. This seminar will enable a small group of students to study California’s environmental laws in an in-depth way. The course will focus on a subset of topics for more intensive study and reflection, rather than attempt to be comprehensive. Topics may include, for example, the California Environmental Quality Act; air quality, water quality, and greenhouse gas regulation; coastal management; water resources; and environmental justice. Grades will be based in part on participation and weekly reaction papers. In addition, students may choose to submit either three papers of 6-8 pages in length over the course of the semester, or one longer term paper that may be used to satisfy the Substantial Analytic Writing (SAW) requirement. Prior environmental law coursework or background will be helpful, but is not required.
Topics in California Environmental Law