Merhige Center News
Professor Noah Sachs participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Professor Sachs traveled to Paris in December 2015 to be a part of this event, in which diplomats from 195 nations discussed climate change commitments through 2030.
Professor Joel Eisen filed an amicus brief in the case of FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association.
Prof. Eisen and three co-authors filed the brief on behalf of 26 energy law scholars in support of FERC, arguing that the D.C. Circuit Court erred when it ruled that FERC lacked authority to regulate demand response compensation in the wholesale electricity markets. In a Jan. 25, 2015, ruling, the Supreme Court held that FERC has authority over demand response bids. Prof. Eisen offered comments to several media outlets on the subject.
Professor Noah Sachs delivered testimony to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
Prof. Sachs' testimony regarded how the government administers regulations regarding health, safety, and the environment.
Professor Joel Eisen participates in invitation-only conference of energy industry leaders
In April 2015, Professor Joel Eisen participated in the invitation-only 2015 Austin Electricity Conference (The Nexus of Markets and the Environment), in Austin, Texas. This conference of engineers, economists, policymakers, lawyers and other experts in the electric utility industry, drawn from academia, industry, government, and NGOs, explored issues relating to the benefits and costs of renewable energy, integrating distributed energy resources into the electric grid, among other topics.
Professor Joel Eisen and five co-authors publish new edition of leading Energy Law casebook
In April 2015, Professor Joel Eisen and five co-authors published Eisen, Hammond et al., Energy, Economics and the Environment: Cases and Materials (4th ed. 2015). Law and business school courses have used previous editions of the casebook for nearly two decades. The fourth edition is a major overhaul that covers the full range of energy resources and emphasizes energy law’s connections to environmental and economic issues. Professor Eisen served as co-lead editor, supervising the editing and production process, and authoring or co-authoring four chapters. Download the first chapter here.
Professor Noah Sachs speaks at symposium sponsored by the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review
On March 27, 2015, Professor Noah Sachs spoke at a major symposium titled “What’s in your water?” sponsored by the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review. Professor Sachs presented his findings on toxic chemical risks in Virginia and the threats to drinking water supplies.
Professor Joel Eisen’s book chapter published in the “definitive book on climate change mitigation”
In March 2015, Professor Joel Eisen published a chapter in the Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law (Edward Elgar Publishing). The Handbook includes contributions from more than 50 experts from around the world discussing means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all relevant countries and regions, including the European Union, the United States, and China. Professor Eisen’s chapter addressed ongoing statutory, regulatory and other policy developments in the U.S. energy sector. Book site and detailed table of contents here.
Professor Joel Eisen gives keynote speech at energy industry conference
On February 25, 2015, Professor Joel Eisen gave the keynote speech at the 19th Annual Ohio Energy Management Conference, in Columbus, Ohio, one of the nation’s largest regional energy conferences. Speaking to 800 attendees, Professor Eisen presented on “Removing Barriers to Innovation & Technology on the Smart Grid,” focusing on demand response, EPA climate regulations, and federal and state renewable energy initiatives.
Professor Noah Sachs publishes op-ed on the need to protect drinking water supplies
On January 18, 2015 Professor Noah Sachs published an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch detailing the need to protect drinking water from chemical spills and outlining legislation to upgrade standards for chemical storage tanks.
Professor Joel Eisen co-authors posts for RegBlog and CPR Blog on “demand response”
In January 2015, Professor Joel Eisen and Professor Todd Aagaard (Villanova) published posts in RegBlog (Penn Program on Regulation), and CPR Blog (Center for Progressive Reform), commenting on the Solicitor General’s petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court in FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association, asking the Supreme Court to review the May 2014 decision from a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on demand response.
Professor Noah Sachs’ article, Climate Change Triage, published in Environmental Law
The December 2014 article examines options for climate mitigation using a triage framework that draws on law, philosophy, economics, and moral theory.
Professor Joel Eisen presents at Northwestern University energy law conference
In November 2014, Professor Joel Eisen presented on How Far Can FERC Go In Shaping Wholesale Markets To Promote The Smart Grid? at the conference of Northwestern University Law School on “Legal and Regulatory Issues, Obstacles and Opportunities in Electricity Markets.” The presentation examined boundaries of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to promote innovation in wholesale markets for electricity.
Professor Joel Eisen’s book chapter published in Oxford Handbook of Land Economics
In August 2014, Professor Joel Eisen published a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Land Economics on Stigmatized Sites and Urban Brownfields Redevelopment. This chapter discusses “stigmatized sites” located in urban areas in the United States and Europe and “brownfields” redevelopment programs aimed at removing the stigma and promoting sites’ remediation and reuse. Book website.
Professor Joel Eisen publishes article with Professor Todd Aagaard on the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” in New York Law Journal
On July 10, 2014, Professors Eisen and Aagaard published Tackling Climate Change: Don’t Forget Energy Efficiency, noting that one option available for states under the EPA’s controversial Clean Power Plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants is relying on energy efficiency and other demand-side strategies. The article criticizes a federal court decision that cast a cloud over one strategy (demand response) because it restricts the availability of this option.
Professor Noah Sachs presents at the IUCN’s bi-annual conference in Tarragona, Spain
On July 4, 2014, Professor Sachs presented a paper titled, “Market-Based Energy Efficiency Policies in the Developing World: Problems and Prospects,” at a major conference sponsored by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The conference included law professors from all over the world, and Professor Sachs spoke on a panel on energy market regulation.
June 2014 - Professor Noah Sachs returns from Fulbright fellowship in India
Professor Sachs concluded research on India’s climate change policy at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. He spent six months in India meeting with Indian academics, government officials, and business and non-profit executives, and he taught a class on global climate change law. He is currently writing an article on India’s climate change policy and India’s new Perform Achieve Trade program, which aims to promote energy efficiency. Prof. Sachs’ experience on the Fulbright is profiled here:
Professor Joel Eisen’s article on the Smart Grid published in top law journal
Professor Joel Eisen published An Open Access Distribution Tariff: Removing Barriers To Innovation On The Smart Grid, 61 UCLA Law Review 1712 (2014). Download here. Professor Eisen proposed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) consider promulgating an Open Access Distribution Tariff (OADT) to open the nation’s electric grid to new products and services at the consumer (distribution) level. The article claims that an OADT is necessary to create a smart electricity network that would be national, multimodal, and interactive.
On June 20, 2014, The Atlantic published Prof. Sachs’ article, which discusses his research on the garbage problem in Bangalore, India and what India’s garbage crisis can teach about waste and consumption in the United States.
Professor Joel Eisen publishes posts for Legal Planet and CPR Blog on “demand response”
In May 2014, Professor Joel Eisen published posts in Legal Planet (UCLA/Berkeley), and CPR Blog (Center for Progressive Reform), criticizing the decision of a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Electric Power Supply Association v. FERC that invalidated Order 745 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which directs regional grid operators to establish rules that compensate demand response resources at the wholesale market price—the same rate that electric power suppliers receive for selling electricity. Download Professor Eisen’s law review article on demand response.
Professor Joel Eisen participates in conference exploring innovation in the electric grid
In April 2014, Professor Joel Eisen participated in the invitation-only 2014 Austin Electricity Conference (Innovation & New Models for the Delivery of Electric Service), in Austin, Texas. This conference of engineers, economists, policymakers, lawyers and other experts in the electric utility industry, drawn from academia, industry, government, and NGOs, explored issues relating to the challenges to traditional modes of generating and delivering electricity posed by innovation in the electricity industry
3L student Ryan Murphy publishes op-ed on toxic waste sites
The February 7, 2014 op-ed, published in the Virginia Pilot, calls on the Commonwealth to enact legislation to address contaminated sites that are not part of the federal Superfund program. Murphy advocates increased state authority to investigate and remediate sites and a state “priority list” to direct resources to the sites that pose the greatest danger.
Professor Noah Sachs publishes op-ed on toxic chemical regulation in Virginia
The January 22, 2014 op-ed, titled “Chemical Spill a Wake-Up Call for Virginia,” calls on the General Assembly to enact legislation to protect Virginians from toxic chemical releases and spills.
Merhige Center Report on Toxic Chemicals Profiled in Major Media Outlets
Major newspapers ran stories about 2014 report,“A Strategy to Protect Virginians from Toxic Chemicals,” in January and February 2014. The report, by Professor Noah Sachs and 3L student Ryan Murphy, received national attention in the wake of the chemical spill in Charleston, WV. The newspapers include the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Professor Joel Eisen publishes post in RegBlog on Smart Grid standards
In January 2014, Professor Joel Eisen posted on Smart Regulation and Federalism For the Smart Grid in RegBlog (Penn Program on Regulation). Professor Eisen argued that the interoperability standard-setting process for the Smart Grid is an appropriate, adaptive approach to energy law federalism. Download Professor Eisen’s article in the Harvard Environmental Law Review on Smart Grid standards here.
Jan. 15, 2014: Merhige Center Issues New Report on Toxic Chemicals in the Virginia Environment
Professor Noah Sachs and third-year student Ryan Murphy prepared the first comprehensive report on the sources of toxic releases in Virginia and recommends that the Commonwealth take the lead on a number of fronts to protect Virginians. The report is titled, "A Strategy to Protect Virginians From Toxic Chemicals." [View the report]
Jan. 18, 2013: International Environmental Law Class Issues New Report on Climate Change Equity
Professor Noah Sachs' international environmental law students prepared a major new report on equity and fairness issues in the new climate change treaty that is to be negotiated by 2015. The report, prepared for the DC-based World Resources Institute, is titled "Toward a Global Climate Treaty: Selected Equity Issues." [View the report]
Professor Noah Sachs' latest article, Can We Regulate Our Way to Energy Efficiency? Product Standards as Climate Policy, was published by Vanderbilt Law Review in November 2012.
The article explores efficiency performance standards for products such as lighting, refrigeration, and heating equipment and argues that these standards can help address climate change by reducing energy consumption. The article was part of a major symposium held at Vanderbilt to explore the role in energy supply and energy demand in climate change. [View the article]
Professor Noah Sachs Publishes Op-Ed on Independence of Federal Agencies
On November 26, 2012, Professor Noah Sachs published an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch opposing a new bill that would curtail the independence of some federal agencies. [View the article]
Professor Joel Eisen's article "Residential Renewable Energy: By Whom?" honored by Vanderbilt Law School
Environmental Law Professor Joel Eisen's article "Residential Renewable Energy: By Whom?" was presented at a Vanderbilt Law School conference in February, and has been honored by the Environmental Law Institute and Vanderbilt Law as one of the top four environmental law articles of 2011. More information
University of Richmond Law Students learn about Environmental Justice Issues
On Jan. 25, 2012, over 40 University of Richmond professors, undergraduate students, and law students attended a presentation given by Dr. Andrea Simpson, a professor of political science at the University of Richmond and the chair of the school's Political Science Department. The event was entitled "Race, Class, and Power in Environmental Justice," and was co-sponsored by the Merhige Center for Environmental Studies and the Black Law Students Association at the University of Richmond School of Law. Dr. Simpson gave a lively lecture about the roots of environmental justice, current projects that are underway, and the challenges that face the environmental justice movement in the future.
University of Richmond Moot Courtroom Dedicated by Justice Stephen Breyer in honor of Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr.
On Oct. 6, 2011, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer visited the University of Richmond School of Law to speak at the dedication ceremony for the school's Robert R. Merhige Jr. Moot Courtoom. The event honored the late Judge Merhige, an alumnus of the University of Richmond and a federal judge for more than 31 years. Justice Breyer spoke highly of the late judge's many accomplishments and of the propriety of a such an honor being bestowed upon him. Read more about the dedication.