Legal Scholars Release 2018 Top 10 Environmental Watch List

Environmental law scholars and editors of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (VJEL) at Vermont Law School today announced publication of the 2018 “Vermont Law Top 10 Environmental Watch List,” highlighting critical law and policy issues they believe will escalate in the coming year. The list, in its eighth year, features articles co-authored by VLS students and faculty on topics ranging from the Trump administration’s reduction of national monuments to the threat of nuclear war.

“A central question occupying environmental lawyers of all stripes is the degree to which the current federal administration, under the leadership of President Trump, his cabinet, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, will disrupt federal environmental and natural resources policies constructed over the past five decades,” said Associate Dean David Mears, director of the Environmental Law Center at VLS, in his introduction to the Top 10 Environmental Watch List. “The one common thread across all of the topics covered on this Top 10 list is that lawyers and the courts will play a major role in determining the extent to which President Trump’s environmental agenda is implemented.”

The Top 10 Environmental Watch List, written with a lay audience in mind, is available online at The list includes the following articles:

1. Houston, This is Harvey: Hurricanes are Hazardous
2. Fuel Efficiency Standards Trumped?
3. States Filling the Void on Climate Change
4. Pulling the Teeth Out of the Endangered Species Act
5. Nuclear War: The War Our Planet Won’t Survive
6. The President’s Monumental Mistakes
7. Trump’s Wall: Adios to Environmental Law?
8. Energy Infrastructure Siting Authority
9. Solar Trade Tariffs
10. Permitting Natural Gas Pipelines: Must FERC Take Climate Change Into Account?

“The goal of the Top 10 Environmental Watch List is to share with the world what we think will be the most important environmental issues in the coming year so that we can work together to address them,” said James Crowder JD’18, VJEL editor-in-chief. “By looking forward, we are able to give context to these issues and discuss their relevance and potential impacts. Our authors attempt to break down the complex legal framework so that all people can understand the decisions that our leaders are making for the environment. With important decisions looming for President Trump and his cabinet, the Top 10 list gives some insight into what might happen in 2018.”

For more information about the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, including a Top 10 archives, visit or email For more information about environmental programs at Vermont Law School, including degrees and clinical training, visit the Environmental Law Center online at


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a juris doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; four master’s degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy, and Master of Arts in Restorative Justice; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Center for Applied Human Rights, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.