The Fifth Edition of Energy, Economics and the Environment focuses on the unifying characteristics of energy law, while also emphasizing its connections to environmental and economic issues affecting energy industries. The casebook covers the full range of energy resources, as well as an in-depth examination of issues related to electric power.

Like previous editions, this casebook is intended to be used in an Energy Law survey course, but the materials in the book are rich enough that they can also be adapted to a course or seminar covering renewable energy, oil & gas, electricity regulation, or advanced topics in environmental law. Previous editions of the casebook have been used in law school classrooms for nearly two decades. The new edition of the casebook provides a pedagogical window that can readily be adapted to a variety of courses and teaching styles as issues in energy continue to change. Materials in the casebook include extended problems, case studies, and other practice-oriented materials to allow students to learn important concepts in a practical context.

We emphasize four recurring and cross-cutting themes throughout the casebook: (1) public versus private ownership of energy resources; (2) monopoly vs. competition; (3) externalities and risk concepts; and (4) public governance, including federalism issues. These four themes have defined energy law since the early twentieth century—and they are at play in every energy resource arena today.

For more information and additional teaching materials, visit the companion site.


Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: University Casebook Series
Publication Date: 11/07/2019

Joel B. Eisen, University of Richmond School of Law

Emily Hammond, George Washington University Law School

Jim Rossi, Vanderbilt University Law School

David B. Spence, University of Texas School of Law

Hannah J. Wiseman, Penn State University Park

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Energy law is a dynamic field, and new developments since the book’s Fourth Edition have significantly impacted its landscape. Although every chapter of the book has been updated, significant changes to content in the Fifth Edition include:

  • An entirely new chapter on the modern electricity grid, discussing recent changes in distributed energy resources such as increased penetration of rooftop solar and rising use of demand response and battery storage. This chapter explores in depth the challenges that these changes pose to the model of the traditional utility and includes a section on energy justice.
  • Substantially expanded discussion of National Environmental Policy Act challenges to the indirect effects of energy projects, such as the downstream effects of natural gas pipelines, and the cases in which these challenges have arisen.
  • New discussion of the trend toward local control over energy, including municipalization of power supply and community choice aggregation.
  • Discussion of federal executive efforts to support certain energy sectors through emergency orders.
  • A significantly modified discussion of the public utility and introductory public utility concepts so that students learn the basic concepts of the natural monopoly and other public utility principles before learning about ratemaking for pipelines and electricity infrastructure.
  • A new hydraulic fracturing section of the Oil and Gas chapter, including substantially expanded discussion of the environmental and social impacts of hydraulic fracturing and regulation of these impacts.
  • A substantially expanded discussion of property law principles that arise in hydraulic fracturing cases, including trespass and oil and gas conservation issues, and cases and state regulation relating to these issues.
  • Substantial updates on energy statistics in every chapter, such as the types of energy produced and consumed in the United States, changes to coal production and exports, increasing oil and gas production, continued expansion of renewable energy infrastructure and battery storage, and declining numbers of active nuclear power plant projects.

The casebook includes a range of recently-released cases and discussion of these cases, including Supreme Court cases addressing federalism issues in electricity (through demand response and capacity issues), federal cases addressing the dormant Commerce Clause and preemption of state clean energy laws (New York and Illinois statutes supporting nuclear power), state cases addressing state preemption of local regulation of hydraulic fracturing, and a new state case addressing the definition of distributed solar electricity as a public utility. Many chapters describe and cite recent proposed and finalized rules to reduce environmental regulation of energy externalities through withdrawals of previous finalized rules, including, for example, rules for oil and gas methane emissions, automobile fuel efficiency and emissions, greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, and other environmental regulations, as well as cases addressing these rules. The book also includes timely discussion of the most recent status of energy infrastructure projects, such as the Keystone XL pipeline and proposed coal export terminals, and legal challenges to these projects.

Learn more about this series.