GEOG 462: Environmental Law, Geography, and Society

This course offers an overview of U.S. environmental law and policy in historical and geographic context.  How has U.S. society used laws to solve environmental problems?  We introduce the fundamental elements of the U.S. legal system and the public policy process, as they affect the natural environment and resources.  We study key environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Air Act, and the political geography, court decisions, and policy issues that have shaped their implementation in practice.  In addition to environmental law, we discuss different approaches to environmental economics, political economy, and human-environment relations in order to better understand the wider social and geographic context of environmental regulation.  In the last part of the course we study the evolution of electricity law in relation to changing social and environmental priorities, and these cross-cutting themes lead us to look at international environmental problems of global warming and climate change.

Course Credits