​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Consider electrification, and you’ll quickly understand the complexity of energy and the environment.​

Access to reliable electricity correlates with good public health and economic success, yet nearly 25 percent of the world’s population lives without electricity. Another third has limited access. The 600 million of us who have abundant electricity keep finding ways to use more. It’s no wonder that demand for electricity is increasing at a staggering rate.

Energy generation and consumption, however, is also the world’s largest source of pollution and cause of environmental degradation. Energy policy has become the single most important influence on environmental protection. Conversely, efforts to protect and manage the environment pose the greatest constraint on energy.

Vermont Law School courses and clinics consider the relationship between energy and the environment in the context of its legal, scientific, commercial and human implications. Courses include:

Further expertise is gained through engagement with the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE) on real world energy law and policy issues.

The Institute for Energy and the Environment is a national and world energy policy resource with an advanced energy law and policy curriculum focused on the energy policy of the future. The institute serves as a center for graduate research on energy issues with an environmental awareness and recently established a year-round student-staffed energy clinic, which works on legal and business models for community energy development. Students learn how to work with and improve America’s legal system in order to help humanity meet the challenge of energy issues. The IEE is working on client-focused projects exploring energy security and justice, barriers to the integration of renewable energy resources, how smart grid technologies can enhance both efficiency and expand the electrification of transportation, and data privacy issues related to customer solar and energy efficiency information.

Professor Kevin Jones, the IEE Director, is the former director of energy policy for New York City and coauthor of A Smarter, Greener Grid: Forging Environmental Progress from Smart Energy Policies and Technologies. Assistant Professor Jeannie Oliver, LLM ’14, is Staff Attorney for the Energy Clinic. Assistant Professor and Senior Fellow Mark James, LLM ’16, leads projects in IEE and teaches. The IEE is also staffed by a program coordinator, two Global Energy Fellows and approximately twenty JD, LLM, and master’s students who serve as research associates.

INSTITUTE AND ENERGY CLINIC PROJECTS

  • Develop legal models promoting community solar ownership and work with local community organizations on solar project development
  • Research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy on data privacy policies governing use of customer solar and energy efficiency data
  • Author a book on how the electric battery is a key to a low carbon future
  • Analyze the barriers to low income solar ownership and advocating for policy solutions
  • Publications on climate refugees, the energy burden for Vermonters, federal tax incentives for small scale hydro, and the analysis of divergent net metering reforms in Nevada and California

 

 

Agriculture & Food Systemshttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/agriculture-food-systemsAgriculture & Food SystemsFood is a basic necessity of human life and a unique vehicle for change, as it is intimately tied to human health, the environment, poverty, immigration, animal welfare, law, politics, and culture, on every step of its journey from farm to plate.
Business Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/business-lawBusiness LawA targeted suite of classes for students who want to specialize in business. Courses include corporations, bankruptcy, nonprofit management, white collar crime and more.
China & Southeast Asiahttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/china-and-southeast-asiaChina & Southeast AsiaAs the challenges posed by climate change grow in urgency, the power that massive developing countries like China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar can leverage to effect change cannot be overstated.
Climate Change Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/climate-change-lawClimate Change LawIn a time of broken global temperature records, increasing natural disasters, emerging U.S. and international law and policy will be key to governing mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
Criminal Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/criminal-lawCriminal LawThe certificate in criminal law provides broad-based, comprehensive training and skills needed by students to become prosecutors, defenders, or to practice criminal law in a private firm setting.
Dispute Resolutionhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/dispute-resolutionDispute ResolutionIn an increasingly complex world, dispute resolution offers a way to find solutions that allow all parties to move forward without entering a courtroom.
Energy Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/energy-lawEnergy LawVermont Law School courses and clinics consider the relationship between energy and the environment in the context of its legal, scientific, commercial and human implications.
Environmental Justicehttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/environmental-justiceEnvironmental JusticeStudents who specialize in Environmental Justice will develop their personal and professional environmental ethics.
Environmental Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/environmental-lawEnvironmental LawVermont Law School offers a multidisciplinary array of environmental courses in law, policy, science, economics, and ethics to students studying for any one of our degrees or certificates.
International Environmental Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/international-environmental-lawInternational Environmental LawEnvironmental issues are global issues. The unique opportunities at Vermont Law School prepare our graduates to be leaders in international environmental law and policy.
International & Comparative Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/international-comparative-lawInternational & Comparative LawPrepares students for careers with international organizations, NGOs, law firms, multinational enterprises, and government agencies. We offer study experiences that broaden knowledge and skills, add new perspective, and open opportunities.
Land Use Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/land-use-lawLand Use LawIncluding smart growth principles, ecological planning, affordable housing, flood hazard mitigation, energy and land use regulatory decision-making, permitting processes, and land conservation strategies.
Legal Writinghttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/legal-writingLegal Writing
Sports Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/sports-lawSports Law
Tax Law and Policyhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/tax-law-and-policyTax Law and PolicyWe know that improving the environment requires changing the way we run our businesses, use our resources, and act as citizens. But how do we actually make that change occur?
Technology & Legal Innovationhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/technology-legal-innovationTechnology & Legal InnovationDigital technologies create a wealth of new possibilities around how we define, deliver, and teach law. What does government become as legislation and regulation open to digital means of access and participation?
Water Resources Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www-staging.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/water-resources-lawWater Resources Law | Vermont LawLearn about local, national, and global efforts to secure water supplies through research, education, and policy development. Focus on water law, environmental justice, and policy initiatives to further wise, judicious use of water as a public resource.

"The energy curriculum at VLS was invaluable in providing me with an understanding of legal principals of energy and telecommunications regulation.  As a result of this knowledge, I was able to contribute immediately upon my arrival and have had a chance to take a lead in brief writing, cross examining witnesses during hearings and policy development. Where the energy curriculum provided me with the concrete skills I needed, my time at the ​IEE taught me how to work in a collaborative legal/regulatory environment."​​​


Graham Jesmer

Assistant Counsel, 

New York Public Service Commission