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.

Learn more about ELPAR

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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Water utilities are tasked with providing clean, affordable water to their constituents, yet, a growing number of utilities are charging high prices for water and/or carrying out policies that decrease, rather than increase, water access. Participatory governance, which aims to enable those who are most closely affected by a problem to influence how policymakers solve that problem, may offer a path to a more just water policy. In “Turning Participation into Power: A Water Justice Case Study,” Prof. Jaime Lee of the University of Baltimore School of Law offers a revamped model of participatory governance she dubs the “Constituent Empowerment Model.” The model, which was recently implemented in Baltimore, Maryland, goes beyond traditional community involvement mechanisms and has the lofty goal of shifting power dynamics. In this episode, Linda Breggin, a Senior Attorney at ELI and Lecturer in Law at Vanderbilt Law School, speaks with Professor Lee to learn more.

For more than a decade, ELI and Vanderbilt University Law School have featured some of the year’s best academic thinking on legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems via the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR).  Linda Breggin, a Senior Attorney at ELI and a Lecturer in Law at Vanderbilt University Law School who co-founded ELPAR, and Kritsen Sarna, a Vanderbilt law student who served as editor-in-chief, talk to Howard Learner, President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, to find out his thoughts on environmental citizen suits, the subject of one of this year’s featured articles.

Linda Breggin, a Senior Attorney at ELI and Director of ELI’s Center for State, Tribal and Local Environmental Programs, talks to Professors Monte Mills and Martin Nie about their article, Bridges to a New Era: A Report on the Past, Present, and Potential Future of Tribal Co-Management on Federal Public Lands. In it, they posit that the United States can meaningfully connect public land law to the federal government’s long-standing trust-based and treaty-based responsibility to promote the sovereign and cultural interests of Native Nations and enhance and engage in a new era of tribal co-management across the federal public land system. The article received honorable mention in this year’s Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR), a 15-year collaboration between ELI and Vanderbilt University Law School. Vanderbilt Law students Connor Kridle and Thomas Boynton join in on the conversation.

No matter their practice area, today’s lawyers should have a basic understanding of climate change. Yet, most law courses do not include climate-related cases and other materials, even when such resources would be useful in teaching fundamental competencies and skills. In this episode, we hear from Prof. Warren G. Lavey about his article, Toolkit for Integrating Climate Change into Ten High-Enrollment Law School Courses (2019). Tune in to learn why an understanding of climate change needs to be integrated into the law school curriculum and how we might overcome the climate competency shortfall in legal education.

What do everyday practices like streaming a movie online, purchasing a new pair of jeans, or eating a burger have to do with climate change? Sadly, it turns out almost everything we do, use, and eat has a significant impact on climate change because of the way we use resources, create waste, and emit greenhouse gases without even thinking about it. In this episode, Senior Attorney Linda Breggin sits down with Tatiana Schlossberg, author of Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have, to learn more.

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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