William W. Buzbee is a Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at Emory Law School. He is also a director of Emory’s Center on Federalism and Intersystemic Governance.
Professor Buzbee has taught, lectured, and written in the areas of administrative law, environmental law, land use, federalism, and statutory interpretation since he joined the faculty at Emory Law School in 1993.
While in academia, Professor Buzbee's scholarship on federalism, regulatory reform legislation, citizen enforcement of environmental laws, legislative design and interpretation, and urban sprawl policy has led to numerous invitations to speak and share draft papers around the country with other academics and government leaders.
His scholarly work has been substantially influenced by his employment as an attorney-fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council and, more significantly, his work for a decade as the Vice President and Litigation Committee Chair of the Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest, the most active public interest environmental law firm and litigator in Georgia. In that capacity, he was substantially involved in all aspects of the influential litigation commenced against the federal government to prod Georgia to start fulfilling its obligations to protect water quality under the so-called TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) portions of the federal Clean Water Act. He has also been involved in recent multi-faceted efforts to compel state and federal authorities in Georgia to issue permits complying with rigorous obligations under the Clean Air Act. Professor Buzbee also secured funding for and launched Emory’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic. He serves as the chair of its Advisory Committee and oversees hiring for the Clinic. Professor Buzbee also informally consulted regarding regulatory and litigation strategies with public interest and government attorneys prior to recent years’ wave of New Source Review cases challenging the legality of power plant operations at facilities that had upgraded without simultaneously improving their air pollution control efforts.
During 2006, Professor Buzbee co-authored an amicus brief for a bipartisan group of four former EPA Administrators for the important Clean Water Act case, Rapanos v. United States. That involvement also led to congressional committee testimony at hearings during 2006, 2007 and 2008 exploring the implications of the Rapanos decision and appropriate legislative and regulatory responses.
Professor Buzbee became a professor after clerking for a federal judge, working as an attorney-fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and practicing in the private sector at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York City, where his work focused on environmental law, land use, regulatory and litigation matters. Much of his work while at Patterson was for public authority clients. He also handled a substantial number of pro bono matters involving issues of environmental justice, civil rights, and constitutional rights. While in private practice, he also counseled industrial clients on Clean Air Act amendments, transactional liability issues, hazardous waste liabilities, and land use procedures and environmental concerns. Both in those earlier employment settings and in his work for the Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest and The Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory Law School, Professor Buzbee has been involved with counseling and litigating on behalf of dozens of environmental not-for-profits. He has also been active in improving environmental education and environmental performance at Emory University, heading the University Senate's Committee on the Environment, working with several task forces making recommendations about university environmental performance, and also serving on a committee that designed Emory's new undergraduate Environmental Studies Department.
Professor Buzbee has published a wide array of articles and book chapters on numerous public law and regulation topics. He is the editor and a contributor to the Cambridge University Press book, “Preemption Choice; The Theory, Law, and Reality of Federalism’s Core Question.” His publications in recent years have been published in Stanford Law Review, New York University Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Cornell Law Review, The Administrative Law Review, and an array of other journals, including the environmental journals at top law schools such at NYU and Duke. His articles have been repeatedly selected as among the top 30 environmental law articles in their years of publication and three of his articles were republished as one of the best ten such articles in their year’s issue of Land Use & Environment Law Review. He also wrote the first two chapters in the prize-winning treatise entitled Brownfields Law & Practice (M. Gerrard, ed.). His series of articles and book contributions on urban sprawl and smart growth policy have been particularly influential, frequently cited in others' related scholarship and leading to numerous speaking invitations at other law schools and before government leaders. In 2006, he joined as a textbook co-author with Robert Glicksman (also a CPR Member Scholar) and several others for the new edition of Environmental Protection: Law and Policy (5th Edition 2007).