This lecture presents three cases: Bates v. Dow, a lawsuit brought by peanut growers against the producers of a pesticide that degraded their soil; the Alar case, in which environmental organizations and the media successfully pressured EPA to ban a carcinogenic pesticide used on apples; and the Texas Cattlemen's Association's lawsuit against Oprah Winfrey for her coverage of Mad Cow Disease. Using these three cases, Professor Wargo discusses the legal concepts of preemption and defamation. He gives an overview of their origin and use in regulating agriculture and protecting human health and the environment. Through the Texas Cattlemen's Association case, he shows the effect of state "veggie libel" laws on free speech.
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.