This course provides an introduction to the laws and policies governing the extraction, distribution, and use of energy in the United States. Our class will cover a range of energy resources, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar. We will study traditional regulation of electricity and transportation as well as the transitions occurring in these areas. The materials will raise questions regarding federalism and localism, the appropriate roles of public and private actors, the intersection between energy and environmental law, and the challenges posed by the transition to cleaner energy. Although many disciplines—including economics, science, and public policy—are highly relevant to the topic, our study will be anchored in law: how does law govern the way energy is produced and consumed, and what sorts of legal regimes do and can address the multiple goals of an energy system? We will encounter topics that overlap with Administrative Law and Environmental Law, but you need not have taken those courses to excel in this one.
The course will be 2-3 variable credits: all students will take a final exam; students opting for the additional third credit will also need to complete three response papers during the term of about 3-5 pages each.