Victor B. Flatt, J.D.Dwight Olds Chair and Professor of LawDir. of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center.University of Houston Law Center.
Aubin Nzaou-Kongo, Ph.D.Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow in Law and Energy Policy.Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center.University of Houston Law Center.
Tracy Hester, J.D.
Co-director and a co-founder of the Center for Carbon Management in EnergyUniversity of Houston Law Center.
The origin story of environmental law begins with judges working valiantly to protect the environment, but ultimately, out of an apparent necessity, passing responsibility to legislators and regulators. There is truth to the story, but it ignores important aspects of the demonstrated expertise, creativity, and dynamism of common law judges. Given the trajectory of the environmental law narrative, judges today too anxiously defer to legislative and regulatory policy, and we have come to expect, sometimes champion, this shirking of environmental responsibility. But this logic of deference is unpersuasive in an age where legislators and regulators also struggle and most often fail, to address environmental issues like climate change. This chapter urges that, instead of minimizing the role of judges, there is an immense need to rediscover the possibilities of common law environmental protection. There is a need to write a new origin story in which courts, legislators, and regulators carry shared responsibility. The threat of climate change demands a turn to courts for a variety of services, not least, adjudication that uncovers individual suffering and declaration of norms of right and responsibility. The judge’s role in candidly attending to these meaningful decisions can be the catalyst for much-needed political action.
BioJosh Galperin joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2018. Prior to coming to Pitt Josh was the Director of the Environmental Protection Clinic, Lecturer in Law, and a Research Scholar at Yale Law School. Josh was also a lecturer and the Environmental Law and Policy Program Director at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES). In addition to directing and teaching the Environmental Protection Clinic, Josh directed the dual law-environment degree program between F&ES and Pace, Vermont, and Yale law schools. He was a lead collaborator in the Land Use Collaborative. Josh was also the associate director for the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy where he oversaw all operations of the Center including budgeting, fundraising, research, and teaching.
Josh’s research and teaching cover environmental law, administrative law, food and agriculture law and policy, property, constitutional law, and tort law. He has published extensively on environmental law, with particular emphasis on the role of non-governmental advocates in the creation and maintenance of environmental law, takings and just compensation, invasive species policy, and private environmental governance. His research in administrative law looks at constitutional democracy and administrative legitimacy. He has also written about food and agriculture law and policy, particularly where agriculture and food law intersect with environmental policy and administrative law doctrine. His work appears or is forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal, the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Denver Law Review, Arkansas Law Review, Vermont Law Review, Fordham Urban Law Journal, George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law, and elsewhere. Before Yale, Josh worked for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) where he was a policy analyst and research attorney. In that position, he established and managed SACE’s coal plant retirement campaign, which was a hybrid legal, grassroots, and analytical effort to catalyze retirement of the Southeast’s oldest, dirtiest, and least efficient coal plants. Before SACE, Josh was a legislative counsel for the Vermont General Assembly where he primarily staffed the House and Senate committees on agriculture. In that role, he was involved with a number of bills that eventually became law including Vermont’s farm-to-plate investment program, dairy price stabilization, and creation of the Vermont Grape and Wine Council. Galperin studied law at Vermont Law School where he graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Vermont Law Review’s senior editorial board. He earned a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in wildlife conservation from the University of Delaware.
African Critical Thinking