Airspace in a Green Economy

52 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2011 Last revised: 20 May 2013

See all articles by Troy A. Rule

Troy A. Rule

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: December 23, 2011


The recent surge of interest in renewable energy and sustainable land use has made the airspace above land more valuable than ever before.However, a growing number of policies aimed at promoting sustainability disregard landowners' airspace rights in ways that can cause airspace to be underutilized. This article analyzes several land use conflicts emerging in the context of renewable energy development by framing them as disputes over airspace. The article suggests that incorporating options or liability rules into laws regulating airspace is a useful way to promote wind and solar energy while still respecting landowners' existing airspace rights. If properly tailored, such policies can facilitate renewable energy development without compromising landowners’ incentives and capacity to make optimal use of the space above their land. The article also introduces a new abstract model to argue that policymakers should weigh the likely impacts on both rival and non-rival airspace uses when deciding whether to modify airspace restrictions to encourage sustainability.

Keywords: airspace, green, economy, sustainable, land, sustainability, landowner

Suggested Citation

Rule, Troy A., Airspace in a Green Economy (December 23, 2011). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 59, p. 270, 2011, University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-05, Available at SSRN: or

Troy A. Rule (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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