Vermont Law Top 10 Environmental Watch List 2016

Message from the Director

Today, Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center (ELC) and the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (VJEL) unveil the sixth annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List, plus a bonus feature on COP21, the climate summit in Paris.
Our ELC faculty and VJEL staff editors researched dozens of judicial, regulatory, and legislative actions before selecting the 10 most important issues at the end of 2015.
The list highlights top controversies decided in 2015 and provides a dashboard of open legal and policy disputes as we enter 2016. The topics range from climate disruption and greenhouse gas emissions to the EPA’s water clean up plan for the Chesapeake Bay, the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction over “Waters of the U.S.,” and food labeling.
Open questions abound as we end the year: How will world leaders stem climate disruption at the COP negotiations in Paris this December? (see COP21 bonus feature) With the Supreme Court’s rejection of the EPA’s mercury regulations in Michigan v. EPA, have they ushered in a new era in environmental law where costs play a much more significant role in health and environmental standard setting? How will the courts strike the federalism balance when reviewing the EPA’s new regulations of carbon emissions from power plants and FERC’s regulating retail electricity prices? How much will VW pay in U.S. penalties for using software in its “clean” diesel cars that evaded accurate emissions testing?
You’ll find these stories and more in the 2016 Watch List. We hope it informs about the issues and compels you to action.