Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

273.63 sec. 001 - Public Lands and Natural Resources Law (Spring 2021)

Instructor: Eric Biber  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: Remote Instruction


WTh 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM
Location: Internet/Online
From January 20, 2021
To April 30, 2021

Course Start: January 20, 2021
Course End: April 30, 2021
Class Number: 32820

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 25
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 30
As of: 05/08 05:45 AM

Forests are beautiful, but they are also essential to the production of the timber that we use to make paper and build houses. Oil and natural gas remain cornerstones of energy production in the United States, but their development can scar the landscape, destroy wildlife habitat, and contribute to climate change. Millions of acres of grasslands in the United States are devoted to cattle grazing, but at the possible cost of serious soil erosion. Mining for metals is essential to our economy, but requires massive disturbance of the land. We designate lands as parks and wilderness to protect natural values, but at what cost, for what purposes, and for whose benefit?

How does the law manage these conflicting goals for the management of our natural resources? The answer to that question is particularly challenging in the United States where over 30% of the land is owned by the federal government, including much of the land most valuable for the economic production of natural resources and the protection of important environmental benefits. That percentage rises to over 50% in California, and much higher in other Western states. Accordingly, how the law manages natural resources in the United States involves questions of not just private property, but the design and management of public institutions.

To help explore these questions, this course surveys the management of public and private natural resources, with a particular focus on management of federal lands such as National Forests, Bureau of Land Management lands, and National Parks. The course looks closely at the agencies that manage those public lands, and explores the role that courts and the legal system should play in supervising how those agencies manage the lands and the associated natural resources. We will cover a substantial amount of administrative law and its application to natural resources management. We will also talk about state and federal regulation of natural resources on private lands including oil and gas law. Statutes covered in detail include the National Forest Management Act, the General Mining Law of 1872, the Taylor Grazing Act, the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Antiquities Act, the Park Service Organic Act, and the Wilderness Act.

The course will provide students an opportunity to work with and produce materials commonly used in administrative and environmental law practice, such as comments on proposed rules and environmental review documents.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class fulfills Option 2 of the J.D. writing requirement for all students who elect the paper option.

Students wishing to fulfill the writing requirement must write 30 pages and submit a draft for comment and revision.

Option 2 form needed:

Students who elect to take the final exam will not receive writing requirement credit.

Exam Notes: (TH/P) Take-home examination or paper option: students option
Course Category: Environmental and Energy Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Public Law and Policy

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Required Books are in blue

  • Natural Resources Law: A Place-Based Book of Problems and Cases
    Christine Klein, Fred Cheever, Bret Birdsong, Alexandra Klass, Eric Biber
    Edition: 4th Edition 2018
    Publisher: Wolters Kluwer/Aspen
    ISBN: 9781454893509
    e-Book Available: Yes
    e-Book procurement note:
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: $284.00
    Price Source: user provided

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