Spring 2000

Fall 1999

A Message from the Dean

Cities at the Horizon
Communities at the Horizon
Eastward from Our Horizon: U.S., China & Russia
Beyond the Horizon: Innovation and Technology

ILE Lecture: Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. L'60
Profile: Richard E. Rosin L'68
Profile: Pamela Daley L'79
Profile: Professor Jason Johnston
Profile: Howard Chang
Profile: Robert A. Gorman
Oral Legal History Project

Snippets of History
Symposium
Faculty Notes
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam

Penn Law


It was a wise man who once said it is a sign of a finely developed mind if one can hold two opposing thoughts at the same time. Environmental law scholar Jason Johnston is such a person.

Johnston is as likely to pop a recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony into the CD player as The Cowboy Junkies most recent release. Between giving lectures around the country on the subject of land preservation and environmental contracts, he may be found fly-fishing on the upper Delaware River or hunting for grouse in rural Pennsylvania.

He embodies the balance that can be achieved between environmental use and preservation. In the reconciliation of seemingly opposite visions, Johnston’s scholarship is indicative of the continuing evolution of the environmental law and natural resources use debate since the ecology movement of the 1970s. He sees environmental and natural resources law moving from “first generation” command and control approaches to cutting the most egregious forms of pollution, to a “new generation” of market-based, contractual approaches under which development is regulated to provide the capital for ecosystem restoration and enhancement.

Raised in Suttons Bay, Michigan near Traverse City, Johnston enjoyed the pristine north woods as his playground. “I grew up in a family where we did a lot of outdoor things, so that’s surely a reason why I have an interest in the environment.” At Dartmouth (A.B. 1978 summa cum laude), cabin and trail sojourns took him into the hills and wildlife of New England, and to the Appalachian Trail. In 1981 he took his J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan where he also earned a Ph.D. in Economics in 1984.

Johnston has taught environmental law since joining the Penn Law faculty in 1995. He arrived from Vanderbilt Law School where he was on the faculty from 1989 to 1994. Before that, Johnston was a Senior Fellow in Civil Liability at Yale Law School, an associate professor of law at Vermont Law School, and a clerk for The Hon. Gilbert S. Merritt, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

This year, along with teaching a new course in Natural Resources Law and Policy, Johnston has conducted the Seminar on Law and the Environment. It is a yearlong multidisciplinary course that highlights not only the theoretical aspects of law and the environment, but the practical aspects as well.

Throughout the year, students are visited by the leading thinkers and innovators in the field. Visiting speakers during the 1999-2000 year included Margaret Bowman, Senior Director of Dam Programs for American Rivers; Delaware Riverkeeper Maya K. van Rossum, Professor of Law (and former EPA General Counsel); Jon Cannon of Virginia; aquatic ecologist David Hart of the Academy of Natural Sciences; and natural resource economist Dean Lueck of Montana State.

In addition to his teaching, in 1998 Johnston embarked on the creation of the Program on Law and the Environment (POLE) at Penn Law. The program promotes multidisciplinary research on environmental law and policy. Its mission is to support faculty research, both directly and by fostering ties between Penn scholars and scholars from around the world, and to provide funding for law students interested in environmental law and policy.

With the belief that the field of environmental law will demand lawyers who have extensive and rigorous training in ecology, economics, environmental science, epidemiology, and history and political science, POLE – with the resources of the University of Pennsylvania to draw on — will provide such training. To attract the best students, POLE will offer generous scholarships to those who wish to enter the environmental field after graduation and also who, without scholarship support, would be constrained by loan repayment obligations to take higher-paying corporate jobs.

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