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


June 8, 2011


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 ends with an afternoon careers seminar followed by a networking reception.

Who should attend: Summer associates, law clerks and interns, as well as 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 as 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 it 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 ESA. That model continues to develop, in light of new thinking about species in terms of the overall ecosystem, and climate change considerations.

Summer School: Session 1, NEPA, ESA, and Fundamentals of Environmental Law from Environmental Law Institute on Vimeo.

Dinah Bear, Attorney at Law, Washington, D.C. (former General Counsel to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ))
John Kostyack, Vice President, Wildlife Conservation, National Wildlife Federation

NEPA Section 101
Requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act
Endangered Species Act: Safeguarding Species and Ecosystems in a Warming World, John Kostyack powerpoint
mp3 recording


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