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ELPAR Podcasts

Welcome to the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review’s (ELPAR) podcast series presented by the Environmental Law Institute and Vanderbilt University Law School. In this series, ELI staff and Vanderbilt University Law School students interview some of the country’s leading law professors about their creative legal and policy proposals for addressing a range of cutting edge environmental issues. Our goal is to make ideas from the legal literature more accessible to practitioners, policymakers, and the public.  

ELPAR is a special issue of the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR), published in collaboration with the Vanderbilt University Law School (VULS) and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) in Washington, DC. Each year, Vanderbilt Law students work with an expert advisory committee and senior staff from ELI to identify the year’s best academic articles that present legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems. The result is a one issue, student-edited volume that includes condensed versions of the selected articles, along with commentaries from leading experts from the academy, law firms, business, government and non-governmental organizations. For more information about ELPAR, please visit https://www.eli.org/environmental-law-and-policy-annual-review.

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Local governments often require developers to bear the costs of new infrastructure. Known as “exactions,” the funds help localities address the burdens that growth places on schools, transportation, water, and sewers. But Professors Jim Rossi and Christopher Serkin, both with Vanderbilt University Law School, have proposed imposing “energy exactions” to address the energy impacts of new residential or commercial growth. In this episode, Linda Breggin, a senior attorney at ELI, and students from the law school talk to Professors Rossi and Serkin to learn more about this novel idea.


Do-It-Yourself biology, 3D printing, and the sharing economy are equipping ordinary people with new powers to shape their biological, physical, and social environments. This phenomenon of distributed innovation is yielding new goods and services, greater economic productivity, and new opportunities for fulfillment. Distributed innovation also brings new environmental, health, and security risks that demand oversight, yet conventional government regulation may be poorly suited to address these risks. Dispersed and dynamic, distributed innovation requires the development of more flexible tools for oversight and government collaboration with private partners in governance. In this episode, Linda Breggin, Director of ELI’s Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs, and Anna Beeman, Research Associate, sit down with Prof. Albert C. Lin of the University of California, Davis, School of Law to discuss some of the responses to the challenges raised by distributed innovation.


For more than a century, energy rate setting has been used to promote public good and redistributive goals, akin to general financial taxation. Various non-tax subsidies in customer energy rates have enormous untapped potential for promoting low-carbon sources of energy, while also balancing broader economic and social welfare goals. In Carbon Taxation by Regulation, 102 Minn. L. Rev. 277 (2017), Prof. Jim Rossi of Vanderbilt University Law School (VULS) argues that even though a carbon tax remains politically elusive, “carbon taxation by regulation” has begun to flourish as a way of financing carbon reduction. His article received Honorable Mention in the special “Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review” edition of ELR’s News & Analysis. In this episode, Linda Breggin, Director of ELI’s Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs, and Elizabeth Holden, a student at VULS, sit down with Prof. Jim Rossi to learn more.


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