Environmental and Natural Resources Law

The Environmental and Natural Resources Curriculum offers over 30 credits in Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, and closely-related subjects.

In addition to core subjects in environmental and natural resources law, courses cover theoretical perspectives such as economic and ethical approaches to environmental regulation, the importance of international and comparative legal models, and practical issues such as compliance and enforcement.


Administrative Law (3 cr.) D/N 647 considers the role of administrative agencies in the scheme of government, constitutional limitations on agency action, and analysis of agency functions; emphasizing informal procedures and placing formal procedures of investigation, rule-making, and hearings in perspective. P: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in Constitutional Law (DN620) or permission of instructor.

Advanced Course Related Experience (ACRE) (1-3 cr.) D/N 803 This course allows students to earn academic credit for experiential learning done in conjunction with a classroom course that they have taken, or are taking, for credit. Students work in conjunction with full-time faculty members to design and execute proposals for learning how law and theory learned in the classroom operates outside the classroom. Some projects may present opportunities for collaboration between faculty teaching clinical and classroom courses. ACRE also may be used to provide opportunities for students to assist faculty with pro bono representation of community groups or clients. The ACRE proposal must be approved by the faculty member teaching the classroom course to which the experiential learning opportunity relates, and accepted by the ACRE Administrator. The project must be described at the time of registration on a form approved by the ACRE Administrator (ACRE Registration Form). Credits are awarded commensurate with hours worked (60 per credit hour) unless a different basis is established beforehand by the supervising faculty member and accepted by the ACRE Administrator. Three credits will only be available in the summer term. Non-graded (S/F) credit is awarded by the supervising faculty member upon satisfactory completion of assigned project.

Advanced Field Research (AFR) (1-4 cr.) D603 Students work outside the classroom under the supervision of a faculty member to conduct factual investigations, interviews, and/or legal research aimed at 1) identifying or advancing potential solutions to a legal or public policy problem or 2) examining the relevance of legal doctrine to a legal or public policy problem. The course emphasizes the deployment of doctrinal learning through experiential projects in the same way that many public interest lawyers respond to policy problems through their work. Projects may include the development of policy papers, draft legislation or regulations, comments on proposed rules, or the production of seminars, workshops, and symposia that convene relevant decision-makers and stakeholders. Prerequisites: Prior approval of supervising faculty member; completion of registration form (available from Registrar). Skills and Writing: Depending on the nature of the project and outcomes, this course may be used to fulfill the Law School’s skills and/or writing requirements. Supervising faculty members will make a preliminary assessment regarding a project’s potential at the time of registration. A final determination will be made upon project completion and must be confirmed by faculty certification that the requirement(s) have been met.

Agricultural Law and the Environment (2 cr.) D/N ___ This course examines the intersection of agricultural policies and environmental law. Students will examine key federal and state laws and regulations. They will also study the institutions that implement agricultural, environmental, and natural resources policies. Students will explore the scientific context and public policy framework within which these legal standards are designed and implemented.

Animals and the Law (2 cr.) D/N 640 explores the historical and evolving legal status of non-human animals. Students will examine cases, arising in a variety of contexts, in which the resolution of the dispute depends upon policy decisions about the nature of non-human animals.

Civil Practice Clinic (3 or 4 cr.) D/N 808 Students represent clients in a variety of civil matters. These include domestic cases, such as dissolution of marriage, custody, support, paternity, and domestic violence; housing controversies; consumer problems; challenges to administrative decisions of state and federal agencies; and a variety of other general civil problems. This clinic is conducted under the supervision of clinical faculty, but students are responsible for all aspects of representation, including presentations in court and administrative hearings. P: Completion of 45 credit hours and completion of or enrollment in Professional Responsibility (DN861).

Clean Air Law (2 cr.) D/N ___ The course will examine in depth the structure and function of federal law regulating air emissions that harm human health and the environment. The course will emphasize the history of air regulation including common law responses to industrial air pollution. It will review the advent of the Clean Air Act as a statutory framework and examine selected regulatory programs under the Act. Students will also review current controversies and areas of regulatory activity, such as the effort to regulate Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, which contribute to global climate change.

Conservation Law Clinic (3 cr.) D/N ___ This clinic allows students to work in the Conservation Law Center, a public interest law firm based in Indiana that represents clients who need legal assistance with natural resource conservation matters. Students work closely with clinic attorneys, and participate directly in the representation of Conservation Law Center clients in the setting of a public interest law firm. Clinic matters have included extensive work on the law of conservation easements; analysis of conservation related laws; development of and comment on new administrative rules, legislation and strategies; and litigation at trial and appellate levels. Prerequisites: Environmental Law [LAW 891] and Natural Resources Law [LAW 717] plus permission of ENR Program Director. (Application: DOC | PDF)

Energy Law and Policy (2 or 3 cr.) D/N 7__ This course surveys policies, laws, and institutions designed to regulate the production, transmission, and use of energy resources in the United States. It will explore existing and evolving statutory and regulatory frameworks to manage the direct and collateral impact of the energy sector on consumers, on human health, and on natural resources and the environment, as well as policy considerations that have given shape to these frameworks. It covers regulatory regimes dealing with coal and natural gas as well as the delivery of energy through the electric grid. It also examines current influences on, and changes, to policy paradigms – including the exigencies emerging from global climate change, the growing market in renewable and clean energy alternatives, and a rising interest in promoting energy conservation and efficiency.

Environmental Advocacy Externship (2 or 3 cr.) D802 This placement is with one of several environmental and natural resource organizations and agencies working at a local, state, and regional level. Placement opportunities vary. Recent placements have included the Sierra Club, Save the Dunes, Indiana Kids for the Environment (IKE), and the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC). Through these placements, students have helped to provide public interest representation on environmental issues pending before administrative agencies and state and federal courts, and have worked to address policy issues before legislative and regulatory bodies. (Application(s): Spring 2015)

Environmental and Toxic Tort Law (2 or 3 cr.) D/N 611 covers tort actions used to provide redress for injury caused by toxic substances and dangerous environmental conditions. Topics may include trespass, nuisance, strict liability for abnormally dangerous activities, product liability, federal preemption, and special problems in causation.

Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (2 cr.) D/N 673 This course examines the key methods, strategies, and institutions for promoting compliance with environmental laws and for enforcing those laws when violated. The course examines the enforcement process from monitoring and reporting responsibilities to investigation of violations. It covers administrative, civil, and criminal regimes for enforcement in both state and federal systems. It also examines the role of citizen suits and public interest litigation in assuring compliance.

Environmental Justice (3 cr.) D/N ___ represents a critical issue in domestic and international environmental policy and law. Students will examine historical and contemporary “environmental justice” issues raised by communities and the legal avenues available to address those claims. They will gain an appreciation of the competing societal interests at stake in environmental decision-making and the relationship of the civil rights movement in United States history to the birth of the environmental justice movement.

Environmental Law (3 or 4 cr.) D/N 891 introduces students to many of the major concepts and statutes in federal environmental law. Laws covered may include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, CERCLA/Superfund, and the Solid Waste Disposal Act/RCRA. Additional topics may include cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, ecosystem services and valuing the environment, and statutory interpretation.

International Environmental Law (2 or 3 cr.) D/N 754 examines how international law and legal institutions are responding to transboundary and global environmental challenges. Students review prominent issues such as climate change, water scarcity, deforestation, biodiversity loss, ozone depletion, mineral extraction, and marine resource threats, in the context of international development and transboundary trade. Students then analyze selected issues in depth, looking at the science and law of specific environmental challenges as well as the political, economic, and cultural context within which solutions must be formulated.

Land Use (2 or 3 cr.) D/N 740 covers theoretical and practical problems of private and public controls on use, development, and distribution of land, nuisance, planning and subdivision controls, zoning, building codes, and environmental and aesthetic regulations.

Natural Resources Law (3 cr.) D/N 717 covers the law and policy of natural resources regulation, focusing on the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and laws concerning water and timber use and protection; energy-related resource issues other than oil and gas; and land-use planning issues.

Program on Law and State Government Externship Course (3 cr.) D802 Allows students the opportunity to learn about the practice of law within the state government setting with a combination of traditional classroom learning and an externship placement at one of a wide variety of law offices and agencies within the executive and legislative branches of Indiana's state government. The class meetings explore topics such as ethical considerations for the public lawyer, rulemaking and the administrative process, federalism and state sovereignty, state supported speech, and state budgeting issues. (Two of the course credits will be graded S/F, based upon satisfaction of externship requirements, with the remaining credit carrying a course grade based upon performance in the classroom component of the course.) (Application: Spring 2015 | More info: PLSG web site)

Seminar in Public Utilities Regulation (2 cr.) D/N 858 Concepts of state and federal utility regulation are addressed in this seminar. It also considers current regulatory problems, such as restriction of entry, market requirements, mergers and market structures, and rate making practices and procedures.

Supervised Research (1 to 4 cr.) D/N 661 requires the student to write an in-depth and comprehensive research paper on a current legal problem. Generally, 5000-7000 words exclusive of footnotes or endnotes, as determined by the supervising faculty member, are required for each hour of credit. P: Permission of instructor.

Water Law (2 or 3 cr.) D/N 882 This course examines national and regional problems relating to the scarcity, allocation, management, and protection of water. Topics covered include riparian and prior appropriation doctrines, competing public and private interests, groundwater doctrines and management, federal control of water development and quality, and the allocation and conservation of transboundary and interstate waters.