Vermont Law Top 10 Environmental Watch List 2013

2013 Director’s Message

Photo of John Echeverria

John Echeverria

Today, Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center (ELC) unveils its third annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List.

The issues cover a wide swath – from air and water to forests and land use, from the Arctic to Appalachia, from climate change to fracking.

Major developments included a victory for the EPA when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a series of greenhouse gas rules for cars, trucks, and commercial and industrial facilities that validated the EPA’s use of the Clean Air Act to address climate change. But the EPA also suffered a setback when federal judges in two cases ruled that the nation’s environmental watchdog agency exceeded its authority under the Clean Water Act in regulating the impacts of coal mining in Appalachia.

Our ELC faculty and the student staffers from the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law researched dozens of judicial, regulatory, and legislative actions before selecting what they consider the 10 most important environmental law and policy developments of 2012-13.

We hope this year’s Watch List explains why these issues are so critical for the public and decision-makers to act on, and how they fit into the larger picture of climate change.

~John Echeverria

Associate Dean of Environmental Programs,

Acting Director of the Environmental Law Center,

and Professor of Law


About the Vermont Law Top 10 Environmental Watch List

Vermont Law School’s annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List is both retrospective and prospective.

Unlike a standard year-in-review list, the Watch List not only looks at the top environmental law and policy issues of the current year, but also how these issues may play out in the coming year.

The goal is to enhance public understanding, debate, and participation in judicial, regulatory, legislative, and other actions that significantly affect people and the natural world. The Top 10 issues are chosen based on their significance to the environment and to public well-being, and whether a key development is expected in the coming year.

The Watch List was selected by VLS’s Environmental Law Center faculty, and the accompanying articles were researched and written by faculty members and student staffers at the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.