Environmental Law, Disrupted by COVID-19

34 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2021 Last revised: 8 Mar 2022

See all articles by Rebecca M. Bratspies

Rebecca M. Bratspies

City University of New York - School of Law

Vanessa Casado Pérez

Texas A&M University School of Law

Robin Kundis Craig

USC Gould School of Law

Lissa Griffin

Pace University School of Law

Keith H. Hirokawa

Albany Law School

Sarah Krakoff

University of Colorado Law School

Katrina Fischer Kuh

Pace Law School

Jessica Owley

University of Miami - School of Law

Melissa Powers

Lewis & Clark Law School

Shannon Roesler

University of Iowa - College of Law

Jonathan D. Rosenbloom

Albany Law School

J. B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Erin Ryan

Florida State University, College of Law

David Takacs

UC Hastings Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2021

Abstract

As we were in the final phases of editing a book on disruption in environmental law, a pandemic swept across the world disrupting daily life and the functioning of society to an extent unprecedented in living memory. The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 was identified in China in late 2019 and by late February 2020, it had spread to every continent except Antarctica; as of April, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that over 148 million people had been infected worldwide with over 3 million deaths. Scientists and public health experts have raced to understand the virus—how is it transmitted and spreads, who is vulnerable, how is it dangerous, and what are effective treatments—to help governments respond. In many places, including the United States, governments slowed the spread of the virus by relying primarily on the blunt tool of physical distancing, typically in the form of stay-at-home orders. Physical distancing, whether engaged in voluntarily as a result of fear of the virus or required by stay-at-home orders, coupled with other virus control measures, including mask wearing, travel restrictions, and a nationwide conversion to distance learning at all levels of education, impeded the virus’ spread, but it also occasioned massive economic disruption, with unemployment rates reaching over 14% in April 2020 before dropping again to around 8% (pre-COVID rates had been right below 4%).3 The National Bureau of Economic Research concluded by early June 2020 that “the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy” had led to a recession.4 By late spring 2020, having either met public health criteria, seeking economic and psychological relief, or simply acting out of political partisanship, many states began to relax social distancing measures.

Suggested Citation

Bratspies, Rebecca M. and Casado Pérez, Vanessa and Craig, Robin Kundis and Griffin, Lissa and Hirokawa, Keith H. and Krakoff, Sarah and Kuh, Katrina Fischer and Owley, Jessica and Powers, Melissa and Roesler, Shannon and Rosenbloom, Jonathan D. and Ruhl, J. B. and Ryan, Erin and Takacs, David, Environmental Law, Disrupted by COVID-19 (December 1, 2021). ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, DISRUPTED, Keith Hirokawa and Jessica Owley, eds., West Academic, 2021, Albany Law School Research Paper Forthcoming, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 22-05, UC Hastings Research Paper Forthcoming, University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3985629, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3985629

Rebecca M. Bratspies (Contact Author)

City University of New York - School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

Vanessa Casado Pérez

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

Robin Kundis Craig

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Lissa Griffin

Pace University School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States
914-422-4231 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.pace.edu/page.cfm?doc_id=23170

Keith H. Hirokawa

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

Sarah Krakoff

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Katrina Fischer Kuh

Pace Law School ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

Jessica Owley

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

Melissa Powers

Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States

Shannon Roesler

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

Jonathan D. Rosenbloom

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

J. B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Erin Ryan

Florida State University, College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

David Takacs

UC Hastings Law ( email )

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