The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  • Professor: Cassidy, K.
  • Course Number: LAW-928
  • Course Type: Highly Specialized
  • Credits: 2
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar

Description: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a 2 credit seminar- style course offered via zoom. The Arctic Refuge is perhaps the most potent symbol of the conservation movement today, as well as a flashpoint for ongoing legal and political battles between some indigenous peoples and environmental groups on the one side and the oil and gas industry and the State of Alaska on the other. The struggle over the future of the Refuge has played out in all levels of the law, from executive actions to administrative regulations, from Congressional legislation to federal courts. It has political and social, as well as legal dimensions, and the legal skirmishes are certain to continue absent further clarification from Congress regarding the Refuge’s status. The class will explore topics, including: the history of the Refuge, from its original inhabitants to the beginning of its federal protected status as the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960 to its expansion and renaming as a Refuge in 1980 as part of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), to its current legal status today; and will examine the last two presidential administrations’ actions related to leasing portions of the Arctic Refuge for oil and gas exploration/drilling and the ongoing litigation aimed at permanently stopping the oil and gas leases authorized by the Trump Administration in 2017.

  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: Paper
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no