Devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, impending extinctions, polluted oceans, persistent droughts, and greenhouse gases cry out for legal attention, and the challenges can be daunting. Sustainability concerns can arise in nearly everything we do, and the Ross-Blakley Law Library can help you get started by finding your focus area.
Our new Environmental Law and Sustainability research guide includes information on federal and state efforts to control land, air, and water pollution, including statutes, regulations, caselaw, news, and commentary. Beyond that, it provides focused materials for areas of the law involving consumption and preservation of resources while meeting the needs of industries and society. It is geared toward many of the courses included in ASU’s Law and Sustainability Certificate program.
The Energy and Public Utilities section discusses power, including the materials used to generate electricity, the regulatory systems overseeing the industries, and the systems in place to regulate power markets. It highlights the pros and cons of various energy strategies, such as low-emission wind farms that can threaten wildlife, low-emission nuclear plants that create toxic waste, and traditional fossil fuel plants and their climate impacts. Natural Resources and Public Land Management concerns not only the materials we extract, such as timber and mined minerals, but the protection of nature itself, including regulations of public land use. This area of law concerns preservation of wildlife and protection against wildfires in forested areas.
In contrast, Land Use and Urban Planning concerns governance of the built environment. It discusses zoning laws that compartmentalize incompatible land uses such as residential homes and industrial facilities, management of development “sprawl,” historic preservation efforts, and transportation planning. The guide includes information on Phoenix and Maricopa County agencies, as local governments usually address these issues.
Turning from the cities to the countryside, the Agriculture and Food Safety section explores the intersections between the living world and human needs. Farming and food production are complex legal processes involving real estate planning, tax law, environmental compliance, and labor law. Hot topics in the field include marijuana and the complexity of its inconsistent legal status, and bioethical concerns involving issues such as pesticides and genetic engineering. The guide also includes information on regulation of food to prevent illnesses.
Agriculture would not survive without irrigation, so the guide then pours on the Water Law. Hot topics in this field, particularly in the Western U.S., involve tensions between competing claims and governmental efforts to fairly apportion a scarce and vital resource. Tensions abound in discussions of a human right to water, in the cost of water infrastructure, and the environmental effects of human water use.
Finally, our Animal Law guide explores the law regarding animals, both domestic and wild. We have gathered resources concerning animal welfare, wildlife management, pest control, preservation of endangered species, and issues involving farm animals.
For state-focused scholarship, each of the sustainability law topics represented includes a section on Arizona law, including links to government agencies, statutes, and regulations.
We are here to help you find resources for your papers about sustainability or any other area of the law. We can even help you with your Bluebooking. Meet with a Librarian today!
Andrea Gass is a Law Library Research Fellow at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.