Students interested in Energy Law are encouraged to select electives from the list below as well as from Environmental Law electives. However, energy law is relevant in many types of practices, including transactional, regulatory, dispute resolution and/or international law practices. Therefore, depending on the student’s interest, a student considering a career in energy law is strongly encouraged to take courses in diverse other areas, which may include Administrative Law, Evidence, Corporations, Secured Transactions, International Law or International Business Transactions as well as skills courses. Students may also find courses such as Homeland Security Law and Policy, Government Contracts, Intellectual Property and Bankruptcy relevant and useful in their future careers in energy law.

Current Energy Law Offerings

6438 | Energy Law and Regulation (2 or 3) | Hammond
Survey of the law and regulation of energy production, distribution, and use. Topics include fuel production, electricity and natural gas utility regulation, nuclear and hydroelectric facility regulation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy tax policy and financial incentives. Legislation and regulations developed in response to climate change concerns. (Take-home examination and class participation or writing assignments and class participation)

6439 | Energy and the Environment (2) | Finken, D. Smith
Legal and policy issues at the intersection of energy and environmental law. Petroleum consumption, energy efficiency, clean air, renewable energy, nuclear energy, facility siting, and project finance. (Class presentation and research paper)

6443 | Oil and Gas Law (2) | Hammond
Overview of oil and gas law, from its traditional roots in the common law of property and contract to more recent developments in administrative law and regulations. Topics include ownership and the rule of capture, correlative rights, geophysical trespass, leasing and implied covenants, royalties, land use regulation and compulsory pooling, oil production limits and cartels, environmental regulations, oil spill investigation, offshore drilling, and hydraulic fracturing. (Examination)

6459 | Atomic Energy Law (2) | Abernathy, L. Brown
The evolution of the Atomic Energy Act, the regulatory structure for non-military nuclear materials, federal and state law related to nuclear waste; waste transportation; the contrasting stories of two deep geologic permanent waste repositories (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant [WIPP] and Yucca Mountain); the dilemma posed by nuclear wastes having no disposal pathway; the law and policies to avert nuclear terrorism; and compensation when the unexpected happens. (Class presentation and research paper)

6460 | Environment and Energy Policy Practicum (2) | Attanasio, Bryner, Paddock
Students conduct in-depth law and policy development work on behalf of environmental or energy nonprofit organizations or government agencies, working closely with the client organization or agency to research one, or perhaps two, substantial policy issues during the semester. The research is expected to lead to rule comments, a white paper, policy recommendations, draft legislation, revised organization procedures, or other similar policy outcomes. Students regularly meet with faculty supervisors to discuss project developments. Corequisite: Law 6469. Students are evaluated with a letter grade based on the written work product for the client organization or agency. Enrollment is limited. (Skills)

6466-11 | Environmental Law Seminar: Energy and Environmental Products Trading and Commodities Regulation (2) | Malyshev, Waldman 
This class provides a comprehensive overview of commodities trading and regulation in the context of energy and environmental products (from natural gas to carbon). The class will explore who the market participants are and how they are regulated. It will trace the commoditization of environmental attributes and explore how they are used for renewable energy development and project finance. It will explore historic commodity manipulations from Enron to LIBOR. Business students also will benefit from this class. (Research paper)

6466-11 | Environmental Law Seminar: The U.S. Electric System and Sustainability (2) | Attanasio 
Advanced level course addressing law and policy pertinent to the current transition of the U.S. electric system in response to: sustainability policies and laws, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation; reliability mandates and resiliency concerns; new and evolving technologies such as distributed energy resources, storage and microgrids; and the changing roles of market participants, including consumer participation through demand side management and demand response. Emphasis is on the transition to sustainability, viewed in the larger context of embedded infrastructure, financial and operational considerations, political limitations and energy justice. (Class participation and research paper.)

6466-12 | Environmental Law Seminar: Electricity Systems in Transition: A Comparative Review (2) | Dobriansky
This seminar will use a comparative approach to examine how different countries are responding to the dramatic changes in the ways energy is generated and delivered, with particular focus on new energy markets, new technologies, and emerging policies that allow increasing interaction between utilities, customers and third-parties, tapping into distributed energy resources with the use of enabling smart grid and miro-grid capabilities to meet customer needs and modernize power systems. (Research paper)

6466-13 Environmental Law Seminar: Electric and Natural Gas Regulation (2) | Sheridan, Yaffe 
The primary objective of this seminar is to provide an in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles governing regulation of the electric and natural gas industries. The focus of the course will be on federal regulation, primarily by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but the intersection of federal regulation and the different ways in which fundamental regulatory concepts are applied by state regulatory bodies will be addressed. Approximately half of the course will be focused on either fundamental concepts of regulation, such as the meaning of the public interest, conventional and market-based ratemaking, principles governing the review and approval of new utility facilities, as well as fundamental concepts of practice before regulatory agencies, including enforcement and administrative/agency process. The remainder of the seminar will focus on how these fundamental regulatory concepts, precedent and practice come to bear on specific topics of current interest, such as the intersection of climate regulation and utility regulation, the prospects for continued operation of existing nuclear generation in a market environment, impact of shale gas development on the natural gas and electric generation industries, fundamental principles of how regulation engages renewable generation, distributed generation and efficiency, electric markets and regional transmission organizations and the issues involved in the intersection of the natural gas and electric utility industries. We expect to focus on issues of jurisdiction as among 6 state and federal regulatory agencies, legislative and administrative policy considerations as they arise in or around the regulatory process and the concerns of how markets and regulation interact. Those students who have taken administrative law and a survey energy law course may get more out of this seminar than those who have not. (Class participation and research paper). 

6545 | International Project Finance (2) | DeMasi
The use of contracts to shift and mitigate risks inherent in the acquisition, construction, and development of capital-intensive infrastructure projects (e.g., power generation, oil and gas production and distribution, industrial processes, telecommunications networks). Structural and risk allocation issues. Project finance in an international context with a focus on emerging markets. Prior enrollment in Law 6280 is recommended. (Examination)

GW Law Portal Apply