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Tracy Hester
Emerging Technologies &
Environmental Law
LAW 5397
Spring 2011



LAW 5397

Spring 2011



No. Date Topics Guest Speaker(s) Readings Comments
1. January 19, 2011 Introduction  

Mandel on Regulating Emerging Technologies

As you read this overview, prepare to identify other emerging technologies that environmental laws might need to regulate


2. January 24, 2011

Overview of Environmental Law and Agency Actions


Summaries of U.S. Environmental Statutes

Administrative Process Summary

U.S. Environmental Legal Developments 2010

Handout - U.S. Environmental Law Concepts
3. January 26, 2010

Direct Regulation of Emerging Environmental Issues; role of uncertainty and the precautionary principle


U.S. v. Standard Oil

Massachusetts v. EPA, pages 1-10, 24-32

Prof. Percival, Who's Afraid of the Precautionary Principle?, pages 1-22, 54-57, 62-76

Prof. Livermore, Reviving Environmental Protection: Preference-Directed Regulation and Regulatory Ossification, pages 22-36

EPA Proposal to Regulate Prions Under FIFRA

EPA White Paper on Prion Regulation

  Jan. 31, 2011

Class rescheduled




4. Feb. 2, 2011 Regulation through markets, economic incentives, and mandatory information disclosure (including labeling and self-reporting mechanisms)  

Plain English summary of California Proposition 65

International Dairy Foods Association v. Amestoy

Prof. Adler on Labeling the Little Things

Remember to review the summary of EPCRA in your environmental statutes package


5. Feb. 7, 2011

Reflexive regulation and voluntary self-regulation


Green Business and the Importance of Reflexive Law (pages 25-75)

A Reflexive Model of Environmental Regulation

Rethinking Environmental Regulation: Perspectives on Law and Governance (pages 1-9)

Handouts: Science article on transgenic poultry study
6. Feb. 9, 2011

Role of Emerging Technologies in Environmental Regulation and Enforcement (including technology forcing)



7. Feb. 14, 2011 Nanomaterials - background and review  

GAO on Nanoregulation

Overview of U.S. Nanotechnology Policy (skim only)

Muted Reaction to First Reports of Fatalities from Nanomaterials

Timeline for Nanoregulation (only a resource for future use; not assigned reading)


Guidelines for Final Paper

8. Feb. 16, 2011 Nanomaterials - regulation of nanomaterials under federal environmental laws  

ABA White Papers on Regulation of Nanomaterials Under Clean Air Act, CERCLA and RCRA

9. Feb. 21, 2011

Nanomaterials - mandatory data production, labeling and disclosure (TSCA, tort liability)


EPA Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) on Carbon Nanotubes

Nano Data Request and Form from California under Cal. Health & Safety Code

Carbon Nanotube MSDS

EPA LOREX approval letter (redacted)

TSCA and Nanomaterials (skim Appendix)


10. Feb. 23, 2011 Climate Change and Geoengineering - background Prof. Barry Lefer, University of Houston PowerPoint (version from class)

Initial paper topics due

Sample Paper Topics



Feb. 28, 2011

Nanomaterials - focus on carbon nanotubes and potential applications (including energy production), effect of nanotechnology on environmental regulation


Applications of Nanotechnology to Oil and Gas Industries

Karn Study on Nanoremediation

EPA Fact Sheet on Remediation with Nanotechnology

Letter to EPA opposing use of nanodispersants in Macondo spill

PowerPoint on Use of Nanotechnology in Energy Exploration & Production
12. March 2, 2011

Climate Change - application of federal environmental law to greenhouse gas emissions


Massachusetts v EPA

Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act (skim only)

Supplemental Explanation of Basis for Listing Polar Bear as Threatened (focus on pp. 15 - 18)

EPA Ocean Acidification Memo (pp. 1-5)

Congressional Research Service Report on Climate Change Public Nuisance Litigation (reference only; not required reading for class)
13. March 7, 2011

Wrap-up on climate change and existing federal environmental law

Introduction to Climate Engineering Concepts


Royal Society Report on Geoengineering
(redacted version)

Remaking the World to Save It: Applying U.S. Environmental Laws to Climate Engineering Projects (working draft, awaiting publication)

Full report by Royal Society on Geoengineering the Climate: Science, Governance and Uncertainty (for reference only; not required reading)

PowerPoint on Geoengineering Concepts


14. March 9, 2011

Climate Engineering - legal strategies for regulation and control


Retooling the Planet (report from Etc Group)

U.S. Notice re Planktos Experiment

15. March 21, 2011

Climate Engineering - strategies to oppose


Draft strategy to oppose example geoengineering project - see handout

PowerPoint Presentation on Climate Engineering and International Law

16. March 23, 2011

Remote sensing and advanced detection techniques - background

Dr. Alex Cuclis, Houston Advanced Research Center

Jed Anderson, The Anderson Law Group

Environmental Integrity Project comments on refinery emission estimation methods

Prof. Anderson's presentation

Dr. Cuclis' final presentation

Webcast of Profs. Cuclis' and Anderson's class presentation

Prof. Hester in DC to present at GWU Emerging Technologies symposium. The entire symposium, including Prof. Hester's panel, will be webcast.

17. March 28, 2011 Remote sensing and advanced detection techniques - environmental legal issues and technology forcing strategies

Steven Cook, Lyondell Corporation

Kyllo v. United States

Dow Chemical Co. v. United States

Outline of papers due

Guests from Admitted Students program will attend class

18. March 30, 2011

Lecture by John Cruden

Please attend John Cruden's lecture at noon to 1:00 in 144 TUII. He has agreed to discuss emerging technologies and environmental enforcement as part of his speech.

You can also talk with Mr. Cruden directly in a reception immediately afterward during our normal class hours (1:00 to 2:00). The reception will take place in the Heritage Room.


19. April 4, 2011 Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Synthetic Biology - - regulatory strategies, tort liability, restrictions on international use, disclosure mechanisms  

Overview from ELI Biotechnology Deskbook

Overview of U.S. Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology

FDA Guidance on Genetically Engineered Animals

For reference:

Framework for Regulating Plant Incorporated Protectants

Environmental Assessment for Transgenic Salmon

20. April 6, 2011 GMOs and Synthetic biology - environmental legal issues related to production and potential release, Endangered Species Act issues  

New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies, Presidential Commission - read only pp. 35 - 102 and skip endnotes

Monsanto Corporation v. Gertson Seed, U.S. Supreme Court, 2010, read only pp. 1 - 24

Riceland Foods v. Bayer Cropscience news story

Synthetic Biology PowerPoint

21. April 11, 2011 Advanced Energy Technology - background  

Creating Law for Next Generation Energy Technologies, A. Bradbrook

Criminal Information and plea bargain by Hawk Energy Corporation

Dr. Richard Smalley on Energy Challenge and New Technologies

Table of Advanced Energy Technologies

22. April 13, 2011 Advanced Energy Technology - legal issues related to hydraulic fracturing, wind energy and biofuels  

Legal regulation of biofuels (pp. 1-6, 38-50, 59-63)

Regulation of Shale Gas Hydraulic Fracturing (1-27, 37-47)

New York Times article on water pollution from hydraulic fracturing

Wind Turbines and Common Law Nuisance

Reference Materials for Wind Energy Challenges:

Fact sheet on Horse Hollow facility

Rankin v. FPL Energy complaint

Rankin v. FPL Energy opinion

23. April 18, 2011

Guest lecture:

Prof. Peter Bishop
Director, University of Houston Futures Program


PowerPoint presentation by Prof. Bishop

Additional articles by Prof. Bishop:

Levels of Change

Dealing with the Future

Forecasting the Future

Horizon Scanning

Class Paper Presentation Schedule

24. April 20, 2011 Paper preparation and individual review sessions - no class session  


First set of rough drafts due for next week's presentation.

Everyone will need to submit their rough draft one week prior to their class presentation.

25. April 25, 2011 Paper presentations and comments  


Five presentations per class

Geoengineering and Weather Modification Law

Geosequestration in the U.S.: Environmental and Legal Implications

Hydrofracking and Natural Gas Supply Effects on Environmental Law

26. April 27, 2011 Paper presentations and comments  


Five presentations per class

Faster, Better, Cheaper: Transgenic Salmon

Environmental Issues Affecting Algal Biofuels

U.S.A. Phytoremediation as a Model for Choco-Columbia Mining Waste Remediation

Emerging Centrifugal Technology in Shale Play Drilling Waste Management

Nanotechnology in the Food Industry

27. May 2, 2011 Paper presentations and comments



Five presentations per class

Legal Aspects of Bioremediation

Biofuels Regulation in Peru

GM Salmon

28. May 3, 2011 Final wrap-up class (optional)      


  May 11, 2011 Deadline to submit final papers