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Summer School: NEPA, ESA, and Fundamentals of Environmental Law


June 7, 2012


Washington, DC

Each summer the ELI Summer School convenes a complimentary seminar series that serves as an introduction to the legal and policy foundations of environmental protection in the United States. The weekly brown-bag lunch seminars are taught by experts in their fields, and introduce 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. The series began with an afternoon careers seminar followed by a networking reception.

Who should attend: This series is designed for summer associates, law clerks and interns. The series is also appropriate for attorneys or working professionals seeking an introduction to environmental law and policy.

NEPA, ESA, and Fundamentals of Environmental Law

The oldest major environmental statutes that we know today have existed for little more than 40 years. Behind the statutes are stories of environmental harm and perceptions that have undergone dramatic changes. This session was an introduction to the framework of environmental law, highlighting two major statutes: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), known as the "Magna Carta" of environmental law, and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NEPA arose in the aftermath of the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969, and continues to evolve in response to contemporary demands. The 1962 Green River poisoning exemplified the prevailing attitudes towards species that led to a new model for habitat protection under the ESA. This model continues to develop in light of new thinking about species within the context of their ecosystems and a changing climate.

Gregory Buppert, Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife
W. Parker Moore, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond

Additional Materials:
Gregory Buppert powerpoint: Fundamentals of the ESA
W. Parker Moore powerpoint: NEPA: The Magna Carta of Environmental Law
mp3 recording


The ELI Summer School series is made possible by the generous support of our members.