This lecture covers site restoration law by looking at the U.S. Navy's use of the island of Vieques as weapons testing ground. Vieques residents are filing a civil suit against the U.S. government, which raises issues of burden of proof, scientific certainty with respect to exposure amounts and health impacts, and how the government protects citizens from environmental hazards. Professor Wargo traces the evolution of site restoration law, from the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969 setting the stage for sustainable land use, to Superfund amendments in the late 1980s that mandated more stringent protection of citizens from toxics.
Wargo, Green Intelligence, chapters 5-8
Weinberg, Understanding Environmental Law, pp. 233-40, 282-304, and 327-32
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.