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Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2011

Vermont Law School Unveils Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2011

Jan. 3, 2011

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT –– Vermont Law School today releases its inaugural Top 10 Environmental Watch List spotlighting the nation’s most critical environmental law and policy issues of 2010 and how they may play out in 2011.

Below is the Top 10 list, which is produced by the nation’s top-ranked environmental law school. The full report is now available at

The report evaluates 10 judicial, regulatory, legislative and other actions that significantly affect humans and the natural world.

“We can continue our short-sighted addiction to fossil fuels or we can adopt innovative, healthier, more sustainable practices,” said VLS Dean Jeff Shields. “The Environmental Watch List will help improve public understanding of how to use the law to take action on the critical issues of our time.”

1.      Congressional failure to enact climate change legislation: Professor Gus Speth, a pioneer of the environmental movement, explores what went wrong and whether the EPA and state and local lawmakers will step forward in 2011.

2.      The nation’s worst oil spill: Associate Professor Betsy Baker, an expert in the law of the sea, examines the legal and policy fallout from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

3.      First U.S. greenhouse gas rules: Professor Pat Parenteau, whose expertise includes climate change, looks at whether the EPA’s efforts to restrict global warming pollutants will survive judicial and political challenges.

4.      Climate change in the courts: Associate Professor Martha Judy, an expert in environmental liability, delves into a Supreme Court case that would allow public nuisance lawsuits against major air polluters.

5.      California’s climate law dodges a bullet: Professor John Echeverria, whose expertise includes climate change, looks at what’s next for the Golden State’s landmark anti-global warming law that survived a challenge at the ballot box.

6.      EPA clamps down on mountaintop removal coal mining: Professor Mark Latham, an expert in environmental enforcement and regulation, examines the EPA’s crackdown on the coal industry’s practice of tearing off mountain peaks.

7.      Wind and solar projects make breakthroughs: Assistant Professor Don Kreis, an expert in energy efficiency, law and regulation, examines plans for the nation’s first offshore wind projects and the largest solar energy projects on public lands.

8.      Supreme Court reviews genetically modified crops: Professor Jason Czarnezki, whose expertise includes food law and agricultural policy, scrutinizes the Supreme Court’s first ruling on so-called Frankenfoods.

9.      EPA’s water transfer exemption remains in force: Assistant Professor Laura Murphy, an expert in the Clean Water Act, explores the conflict over transferring polluted water from one water body to another.

10.  U.S. military going green: Professor Stephen Dycus, an expert in national security law and environmental law, delves into the Pentagon’s efforts to use more renewable energy and decrease its reliance on fossil fuels.

Bonus—The Accidental Environmentalist: Professor John Echeverria, whose expertise includes Constitutional law, reflects on the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service, a Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree and two post-JD degrees, the Master of Laws in Environmental Law and the LLM in American Legal Studies (for international students). The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center and the South Royalton Legal Clinic. For more information, visit

CONTACT:   John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations

1 comment to Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2011

  • Recycle

    Thank you so much for these great tips. Something else that’s related to green and eco-living principles is this video I saw on YouTube from GreenopolisTV. The video recaps the top ten great things you can do for the environment.

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