The eJournal is sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School, home to one of the nation's leading environmental law programs. Since establishing the Environmental Law Center in 1978, Vermont Law School has been training people to be environmental leaders in government, nonprofits, corporations, and private practice - locally, nationally, and internationally. With the largest and deepest graduate environmental law program in the country, the Environmental Law Center offers the most comprehensive environmental law and policy curriculum in the nation for law students, and also confers the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) and Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LLM) degrees, as well as a joint JD/MELP degree. The Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center is also home to the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Environmental Tax Policy Institute, Climate Legacy Initiative, Land Use Institute, Partnership for Environmental Law in China, and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

Sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School

"Mining Access to Water Resources – Traditions and Developing Principles" Free Download
AMPLA Yearbook 2013
UWA Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2014-41

ALEX W. GARDNER, University of Western Australia - Faculty of Law

Is mining and coal seam gas production subject to the key legal principles that apply generally to water resources management, especially the allocation of water resources in circumstances of water scarcity and competing uses? In 2010 the National Water Commission said that frequent resort to environmental approval laws to make special arrangements for water use in these projects was no substitute for better integrating their use of water resources into general water planning and entitlement regimes.

This paper reviews the extent to which the regulation of mining’s and coal seam gas production’s use of water has been reformed to bring it under the general regulatory regimes for water resources management. It analyses aspects of the relevant legislative regimes of New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Commonwealth, to evaluate the extent to which the National Water Commission’s recommendations have been implemented by legislative reforms, and the key principles of those regimes.

"Environmental Monitoring and Ecosystem Management in the Oil Sands: Spaceship Earth or Escort Tugboat?" Free Download
(2014) 10(1) McGill JSDLP 1

MARTIN OLSZYNSKI, University of Calgary - Faculty of Law

Spurred on by mounting international concern about the environmental impacts of the oil sands and determined to secure Canada’s status as a global energy superpower, Canada and Alberta recently announced the establishment of a “world class? monitoring plan for the Lower Athabasca Region of Alberta. Relying on recent scholarship but also Canadian experience with monitoring, this paper sets out some of the challenges to (and features of) effective environmental monitoring programs. It also situates monitoring in its proper context as a prerequisite to the successful implementation of ecosystem management (“EM?), an emerging if still not fully understood environmental policy model, the effective imple- mentation of which presents its own set of chal- lenges. The Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Plan (“JOSMP?) and one of the existing EM regimes in the region, the Lower Athabasca River Water Management Framework (“LAR Framework?), are then assessed against frameworks constructed around the challenges and features previously identified. The implications of an environmental law increasingly reliant on monitoring and EM are discussed in the final part.

"Uncertainty, Precaution, and Adaptive Management in Wildlife Trade" Free Download
Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol 36, Forthcoming

ANNECOOS WIERSEMA, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Wildlife trade is big business and threatens extinction for many species. It is also rife with uncertainty. For the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) every decision concerning a traded species has to navigate this uncertainty. This article addresses how the parties to CITES have dealt with uncertainty by analyzing their approach to precaution and adaptive management in the context of key operations of the treaty: listing criteria, guidance on non-detriment findings, and listing decisions for sharks, polar bears, and the African elephant.

This article concludes that the parties to CITES have implemented precaution through adaptive management and monitoring, rather than explicitly endorsing a precautionary principle or precautionary approach. The parties thereby emphasize uncertainty arising from data gaps. However, while monitoring and adaptive management are necessary for decision-making on wildlife trade, they are not sufficient because they do not fully acknowledge the multiple sources of uncertainty. This article urges a dual role for precaution in wildlife trade decision-making – a procedural role that incorporates it within monitoring and adaptive management and a substantive role that builds in an additional layer of protection even in the face of uncertainty. The article applies these roles to the specific context of CITES decision-making.

The complex mix of uncertainty and value debates is not unique to wildlife trade. Understanding how decision-makers can navigate this complexity and uncertainty without abandoning science-based decision-making is critical for conservationists and natural resource managers everywhere.

"Legal Liability of Saving Seeds in an Era of Expiring Patents" Free Download

PAUL GOERINGER, University of Maryland - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

This year will mark the expiration of Monsanto’s patent on the first generation Round-up Ready technology. But, this expiration does not mean that farmers using seed from first generation Roundup Ready technology will be able to save harvested seed for planting a subsequent crop. Many seed companies utilizing this technology may consider other federal law protections afforded them. One such protection would be the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA). Another protection would be the use of contracts. And, a company also may look at utilizing patent law to limit seed saving. You will need to consider each one of these to determine if saving the seed is allowed.

"Evolution of Environmental Policy and Law in India" Free Download


The paper examines the evolution of environmental policy and law in India and the dominant influences that defined the course of policy. It identifies four distinct phases – the colonial and immediate post-colonial phase, the second phase commencing from the UN Conference on Human Environment in 1972, the Bhopal Gas leak disaster marking the milestone for the third phase and judicial activism extending over two decades as the fourth phase. In the initial colonial and post-colonial phase, environment policy was centered around State rights over forests and usage of forest produce. The dominant themes were revenue accretion and usage of forest products to fulfill development needs specifically in the spread of the railways and communication network. The post-colonial phase immediately after Independence in 1947 did not see a significant shift from the colonial period. The UN Conference on Human Environment in 1972 marked a significant milestone that changed the course of environment policy forever. The presence and participation of the Prime Minister of India in the Conference deliberations brought an immediate response in Government’s focus towards conservation actions. The period from 1972 to 1980 saw a large number of legislations being enacted. The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster was a defining movement in India’s environmental history. The inadequacy of the governance structure in prevention of the disaster, the inability of legal and administrative processes to deliver adequate compensation to the affected people and stirring of public consciousness about the threats posed by environmental negligence came together to reshape environmental policy. A chemical leak incident in the national capital shortly after the Bhopal disaster and the death of a practicing advocate in the incident became the trigger for judicial involvement in environmental matters. The source of policy developments in environment decisively shifted from an elected political executive to an unelected judiciary. International debates on climate change in recent years and commitments to abatement measures appeared only at the fringes of policy discussions. The paper narrates the progression of environment policy and law in India in each of these phases.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School. This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts dealing with the regulation, management, and distribution of natural resources. The eJournal will discuss a diverse array of natural resource topics such as public and private land use, wildlife and biodiversity, forest protection, mineral rights, parks and wilderness, the public trust doctrine, water and wetlands, and tribal lands and resources.


To submit your research to SSRN, sign in to the SSRN User HeadQuarters, click the My Papers link on left menu and then the Start New Submission button at top of page.

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Advisory Board

Natural Resources Law & Policy eJournal

Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

Associate Professor of Law, University of Maine - School of Law

Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program, University of Maryland - Francis King Carey School of Law

Assistant Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School

David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University - Law School

Professor of Law and Director of the Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado Law School

Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law