All course information is listed within this syllabus.

EMGT 820: Environmental Law and Policy (3 credits). This course provides a survey of the basic legal principles, regimes, and issues related to environmental protection and natural resource management. It introduces students to the fundamentals of environmental law and policy.

Prerequisites: None


Robert T. Caccese, Esq.
Adjunct Instructor, Penn State Law
E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox, Use Canvas Inbox only, not PSU e-mail

Welcome students to EMGT 820! I will do my best to respond to your emails within 24 hours, and I will let you know if I will be unavailable for any length of time. I only use Canvas Inbox for correspondence for this course and no other accounts.

Instructor Information

I received my bachelor and law degrees from Penn State. As an attorney, I specialized in water law, wildlife and fisheries, and administrative law. I currently serves as a Policy Director for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Course Overview

This course provides a survey of the basic legal principles, regimes, and issues related to environmental protection and natural resource management. It introduces students to the fundamentals of environmental law and policy, including how the U.S. legal system works and relevant principles of constitutional and common law. After building this foundation, the course focuses primarily on federal statutes, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Superfund, and the Clean Air Act. Some state and international issues will also be addressed. By the end of the course, you will have a grounding in basic legal principles, along with the core principles of environmental law and regulation and how they are changing over time. They will also better understand how federal, state, and even international environmental laws and policies fit together through the use of case studies to help illustrate key points.

  • Module 1: Environmental Values
  • Module 2: U.S. Legal System
  • Module 3: Common Law Approaches to Environmental Issues
  • Module 4: Administrative Law
  • Module 5: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Module 6: Air Quality
  • Module 7: Water Quality
  • Module 8: Water Case Study: Chesapeake Bay
  • Module 9: Water Quantity and Allocation
  • Module 10: Water Case Study: California
  • Module 11: Midterm Exam & Oceanshire Scenario
  • Module 12: Land Use
  • Module 13: Endangered Species
  • Module 14: Energy
  • Module 15: Case Study: Energy Development and Climate Impacts
  • Module 16: Review and Final Project

Course Objectives

Students will:

  • develop an understanding of basic U.S. legal doctrines, including constitutional, common, and statutory laws;
  • learn about the development of environmental laws and ethics in the United States;
  • study what different federal laws cover;
  • understand how federal and state laws fit together;
  • identify what role international law and policy drivers may play; and
  • work with the pieces through application of case studies.

Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check the World Campus Course Catalog approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.


ISBN: 978-1683287902
Salzman, J., & Thompson, B. H., Jr. (2019). Environmental Law and Policy (5th ed.). Foundation Press. (E-Book option available)

For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website.

Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. It is very important that you purchase the correct materials. If your course requires one or more textbooks, you must have exactly the correct text required (edition and year).

E-Book Option

An online version of one or more of your texts is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. You can access the E-Book by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, and then selecting the E-Reserves link. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help (UL-RESERVESHELP@LISTS.PSU.EDU).


This course requires that you access Penn State library materials specifically reserved for this course. You can access these materials by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, or by accessing the Library E-Reserves Search and searching for your instructor's last name.

Course Schedule

Refer to your Calendar or Syllabus in Canvas for assignment due dates. This class does not have a specified slot or meeting time. Students complete the modules and weekly assignments on their own time.


Evaluation Methods

Evaluation will be based on assignments, quizzes, a mid-term exam, and a final project.  Class assignments will require the completion of weekly assessments/activities, periodic assignments, and participation in discussion boards when required.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Weight
Assignments 25%
Quizzes 20%
Midterm Exam 25%
Final Project 30%
TOTAL: 100%

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 93%
A- < 93% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 83%
B- < 83% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 77%
C < 77% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to me.  This will alert me if I need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines.  For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Policies.

Late Policy

Due dates for every assignment and quiz are provided in the course calendar/syllabus posted in Canvas. Unless otherwise stated, assignments and quizzes are due on those days.

I recognize family and medical emergencies do occur and will work with you so you may submit an assignment without penalty after a due date as long as you inform me. We can determine what timeline works best for submission.

For those needing accommodations (military or disability), please see the University policies below.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

Getting Help With Canvas Courses

Canvas support is available 24/7 via chat or phone.

It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Try to include information such as the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Support Services

As a student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the following resources for more information:

Accessibility Information


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures, and the Code of Conduct).

Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity on the Bias Response page.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their Web Privacy Statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff page for information regarding its rules governing the privacy of student educational records.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD40, Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services, addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under federal and state laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The University offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources page.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.

Course Availability

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