ELI Summer School Series 2014: Land Use & the Law

July 24, 2014 12:00 pm — 2:00 pm
Washington, DC (and via teleconference)

The 2014 Summer School Series is co-sponsored by the D.C. Bar's Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section.


Each summer, ELI convenes a complimentary seminar series that offers an introduction to the legal and policy foundations of environmental protection in the United States.

ELI's Summer School is a series of brown-bag lunch seminars taught by experts in their fields, introducing the audience to the major environmental statutes (including NEPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, TSCA, RCRA, and CERCLA) and land use law. Faculty will also incorporate major regulatory and judicial updates to the laws.

This year the faculty will explore how environmental statutes apply (or fail to apply) in a recent case example: the chemical spill in West Virginia's Elk River.

Who will benefit: All are welcome. Students and emerging professionals will have unique opportunities to learn, hear updates, ask questions, and network. The series is intended for:

  • undergraduates,
  • law students and graduate students, and
  • working professionals new to or looking for a refresher course in environmental law (such as interns, summer clerks, and associates, or second-career professionals)

Land Use and the Law

Land use planning touches everyone. This course focused on the primary elements of land use planning law:

  • zoning,
  • comprehensive planning, and
  • eminent domain.

Mr. McElfish described the history of Euclidean or "suburban" zoning and urban planning and more recent trends in approaches to planning communities. He also:

  • discussed smart growth, transportation issues, and green building initiatives; and
  • described the inter-agency cooperation that led to holistic approaches to planning land, building, water, and infrastructure needs to reduce energy costs and climate change impacts.

James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney and Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute

Outline of presentation
Case Synopsis: Energy Corp. USA v. Town of Dryden (44 ELR 20145)
Opinion, Wallach v. Town of Dryden et al.
Overview: Synopsis of Local Environmental Laws (from "Open Ground: Effective Local Strategies for Protecting Natural Resources," John R. Nolan, 2003)
Review the Summer School recent case example: the chemical spill in West Virginia's Elk River.

ELI Resources:
Land Use Planning and the Environment: A Casebook (2010)
Nature-Friendly Land Use Practices at Multiple Scales (2009)


**See the entire Summer School 2014 schedule HERE.**