Planning and Environmental Law

This course examines the range of land use and environmental laws that affect the use, preservation, and development of land in the United States. The course will explore how such laws reflect debates over the proper role of government in a free-market economy, the adoption of regulations in the face of scientific uncertainty over short-term and long-term risks to human health and the natural environment, and the need to balance the public interest and the civil rights of individuals. A recurrent theme of the course will be the divide between two distinct legal regimes: Euclidean zoning and other local land use laws, and federal and state environmental laws regulating pollution prevention, pollution cleanup, and resource protection. The course will conclude by examining programs that may serve to harmonize the land use and environmental law regimes – notably growth management or \'smart growth\' laws and programs. Course readings include judicial opinions, statutes, and ordinances, and secondary critical materials