What Is An Externality?

Dukeminier Property Text

And Could the Leading Property Text Have Gotten It Wrong?

The idea of an externality is fundamental to environmental law and policy — and indeed, to just about any aspect of the common law (at least outside criminal law, and maybe even there). When I teach first-year Property law, I have to introduce the concept pretty early on in the course, as I imagine most […]

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Law Schools Doing Good

How Law Schools Serve the Public

Most people probably think of law schools, when they think of them at all, as places that train future lawyers.  That’s true, and it’s important, but law schools do a lot more.  Faculty scholarship makes a difference –law review articles laid the foundation for many of the ideas now guiding judges (both on the Right […]

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The First Environmentalist Law Teacher


William Colby (1870-1964), a pioneering figure in the Sierra Club from Berkeley's past

I’m pretty sure that William E. Colby  qualifies as the nation’s first environmentalist law teacher, if only because environmentalism was very young at the time..  Colby was a lecturer on mining law and water law at Berkeley for twenty-one years, retiring in 1936.  (That doesn’t make him the first natural resources teacher;  Judge Lindley had taught […]

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Environmental Law as a Three-Legged Stool


Ad. Law provides the process and institutions, while Torts and Property concepts underly the substance.

Environmental law is a formidable tangle of long, complicated statutes and sometimes arcane judicial doctrines.  But underneath all that, I’d like to suggest, there’s a very simple structure, rooted in legal basics. The procedural and structural framework for environmental law is provided by administrative law, supplemented in a few areas like Superfund by ordinary civil […]

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Faculty Openings in Environmental Law

Some schools are still formulating their hiring plans, but others are clearly in the market.

Ax in past years, I’ve been collecting information about faculty openings in environmental, natural resources, and energy law.  I’ll update this as I receive more information.  Here’s what I’ve got so far: University of Delaware is seeking a Distinguished Named Professorship in Energy and the Environment. Environmental law scholars are encouraged to apply (UD has […]

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Can We Trust the Science? The Challenge of Irreproducible Results

In the peer review process, articles submitted to scientific journals are sent to experts in the field who then assess the methodology, results and conclusions. Based on their feedback, authors often revise and re-submit, publishing an improved article as a result. Peer reviewers rarely attempt the actual experiments described in the paper.  Irreproducible results are […]

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The Horse Manifesto

law books

"The Law of the Horse" is a disparaging term for a legal field. We should embrace it.

It’s fairly common to refer to environmental law or energy law as being like the Law of the Horse – implying that they are somewhat ersatz legal fields. For those who are not familiar with the reference, The Law of the Horse was apparently the title of a legal treatise that collected all the cases […]

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A (Sometimes) Beautiful Equilibrium

John Nash

John Nash's contribution to game theory illuminates environmental issues.

John Nash and his wife died yesterday in a cab crash while returning from a trip to Norway to receive a major mathematical prize.  He is best known to the public because of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, which described his struggle with mental illness.  His concept of the Nash Equilibrium is basic to a […]

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Requiem for a Bottom-Feeder

High Cost of Free Parking

UCLA's Don Shoup Has Transformed Urban Planning

Every scholar wants to do good, productive, important work, but I suppose all us secretly would like to redefine our fields — to go down in academic history, so to speak. Virtually none of us do. But UCLA’s Don Shoup, who is retiring this year from the Urban Planning department, is one who has. And […]

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The Unreasonable Risk of TSCA Reform

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is no doubt generating significant conflict, including claims of undue industry influence, competing bills from prominent members of the same party, consternation among states, and divisions among health and environmental groups.  And it may also be the closest we have gotten to TSCA reform—ever.  […]

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