Enviromental Law and Policy

“This course examines the practical application of environmental regulations to real issues on the federal, state and local levels. Environmental law, regulations and policies, and the ways in which citizen input can affect the ways that they are applied, are examined through an in-depth analysis of three projects”.

When I went to sit in on this class, I walked in on a discussion about the ways that value is placed on the natural environment, and of the importance of incorporating the principals of ecological economics into policy making.

Students discussed the issues that they had been covering in class.  As a weekly exercise, everybody will read a few different papers, and then one individual in the class will lead a discussion of the main themes and questions in the literature.   Reading topics have included philosophical texts, case studies, research papers and pieces of legislation or policy.

Three project will be undertaken by each student throughout the class.  Each project has to do with environmental legislation at different levels of government.  The first had to do with researching global legislation, for example cap and trade.  Then the focus shifted to state level regulations, and now students are working on researching local environmental issues, specifically pertaining to the role of permitting in bringing about new laws.

They have also hosted several different speakers, including a panel of locals discussing the construction of a biomass plant in a nearby community in an attempt to gain multiple perspectives on certain issues.

Hannah Duffany, ’13, described that the goal of the class is “understanding the relationship between environmental policy and citizenship.”  Professor Elisabeth Goodman also said that ultimately, she would like students to be able to do their own research on topics pertaining directly to real life.

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