The military's use of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a training site is discussed to highlight the challenges involved in identifying and restoring hazardous sites. Political opposition is faced while attempting to get a site recognized as hazardous, deciding how to compensate those affected, and determining an appropriate level of environmental restoration. The recurring theme of government secrecy and its effect on efforts to protect the environment is also covered during this lecture, as the US military is reluctant to allow researchers to examine testing grounds. The reclamation of these sites involves many environmental statutes, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Wargo, Green Intelligence, chapters 5-8
Weinberg, Understanding Environmental Law, pp. 233-240, 282-304, and 327-332
Can law change human behavior to be less environmentally damaging? Law will be examined through case histories including: environmental effects of national security, pesticides, air pollution, consumer products, plastics, parks and protected area management, land use, urban growth and sprawl, public/private transit, drinking water standards, food safety, and hazardous site restoration. In each case we will review the structure of law and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.