235.01 Environmental Law

This course examines the laws governing interactions between human activities and the environment.  These include the laws governing the air, water, toxic chemicals, hazardous waste, resource use, biodiversity and ecosystems, and climate change.  The course focuses on the U.S. legal system, with some comparative analysis of the law in other countries and international regimes.  The course assesses key features of these environmental laws, including the rationales for environmental protection (e.g. ethical, economic); the choice of regulatory policy instruments (e.g. standards, taxes, trading, information disclosure); and the roles of different levels of government (e.g. local, state, national, international), branches of government (e.g. legislative, executive/administrative, judicial), and non-governmental actors.  We will study how these laws handle key questions such as:  (i) How serious a problem is it?  (ii) How much protection is desirable, overall and regarding distributional impacts?  (iii) How best to achieve this protection?  (iv) Who decides and acts upon these questions?  The course helps develop critical skills including statutory and regulatory interpretation, regulatory design, policy analysis, case law analysis, and litigation strategy.   This course, Law 235, is intended for professional and graduate students, and is also cross-listed as Environ 835 in the Nicholas School of the Environment.  Law students (e.g. JD, LLM, SJD) should enroll in Law 235, while students from outside the Law School (e.g. MEM, MPP, MBA, MA, PhD) should enroll in Environ 835, and may contact the Nicholas School registrar, Erika Lovelace, e.love@duke.edu , with any questions about enrollment.  (The Law School and the professor teaching this course do not have “permission numbers.”)  For undergraduate students, the Nicholas School offers a different course, Environ 265.

Fall 2022

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Final Exam
Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
Class participation
Jonathan B. Wiener
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW-235-01-F22
Email list: LAW-235-01-F22@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice