Photo of Robert Percival

Robert Percival

Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and
Director, Environmental Law Program

Phone: (410) 706-8030
Fax: (410) 706-2184
rpercival @ law.umaryland.edu

Office: 481

BA, 1972, Macalester College
MA, 1978, JD, 1978, Stanford University

Curriculum Vitae

Biography | Selected Publications | In the News

Professor Percival joined the Maryland faculty in 1987 after serving as senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. While in law school, he served as managing editor of the Stanford Law Review and was named the Nathan Abbott Scholar for graduating first in his class. Percival served as a law clerk for Judge Shirley M. Hufstedler of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White. Percival also served as a special assistant to the first U.S. Secretary of Education.

Percival is internationally recognized as a leading scholar and teacher in environmental law. Since 1992 he has been the principal author of the country's most widely used casebook in environmental law, Environmental Regulation: Law, Science & Policy, now in its seventh edition (http://www.erlsp.com). He is the author of more than 100 publications that focus on environmental law, federalism, presidential powers, regulatory policy and legal history. Percival has taught as a visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School in 2000 and 2009 and at Georgetown University Law Center in 2005 and 2011. He received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ ‘Faculty Award for Collaborative Teaching’ in 2005 and in 2007 he was named the University's 'Teacher of the Year.’ In 2014 Percival received the ‘Senior Distinguished Education Award’ from the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law in recognition of his outstanding teaching and contributions to the field of environmental law (http://www.iucnael.org/en/academy-awards/environmental-law-education-awards/218-2014-environmental-law-education-awards). He teaches Environmental Law, a Global Environmental Law Seminar, Constitutional Law, and Administrative Law.

During the spring semester 2008 Percival taught as a J. William Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. In 1994 he taught as a Fulbright scholar at Comenius University Law School in Slovakia. Percival is a highly popular guest lecturer who has given hundreds of guest lectures, paper presentations, and workshops in more than 30 countries on six continents. In 2009 he represented the U.S. Department of State on a lecture tour of China. He has delivered guest lectures at more than 40 U.S. academic institutions, at 27 Chinese universities and before numerous professional associations and government agencies. Percival has served as the Natural Resource Law Institute Distinguished Visitor at Lewis & Clark College of Law, as a visiting professor of law at the University of Chile where he helped establish South America's first environmental law clinic, and as a high-level visiting foreign expert at Shanghai Jiaotong University’s KoGuan Law School. He has taught summer courses at Shandong University, Vermont Law School, the University of British Columbia and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Percival has played a leading role in conceptualizing the new field of global environmental law. He maintains a website and blog on this subject which appears at http://www.globalenvironmentallaw.com and at http://globalenvironmentallaw.blogspot.com. Percival has led nine environmental law student field trips to China and two to the Middle East.  He is a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and one of the founding members of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. In 2009 he delivered Pace Law School's Lloyd K. Garrison Lecture. In 2015 he delivered the Wallace Stegner Lecture at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law and in 2016 he delivered the Distinguished Environmental Lecture at Florida State University College of Law.

Percival is a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.  He has served on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute and as co-chair of the steering committee of the D.C. Bar's Section on Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and the National Committee on U.S./China Relations. Percival has served as the contributing editor for Environment and Natural Resources for the Federal Circuit Bar Journal, as a special master for the U.S. District Court of Maryland, and as a member of the state of Maryland's Environmental Restoration and Development Task Force.


Against All Odds: How America's Century-Old Quest for Clean Air May Spur a New Era of Global Environmental Cooperation (2016). [Abstract]

Environmental Law: 2016-2017 Case and Statutory Supplement (2016) (with Christopher H. Schroeder).

Environmental Law: Statutory and Case Supplement (2015-2016) (with Christopher H. Schroeder). [Abstract]

U.S. Environmental Law (Law Press of China 2014) (trans. under supervision of Zhao Huiyu).

Editor, Global Environmental Law at a Crossroads (2014) (with Jolene Lin and William Piermattei). [Abstract]

Environmental Regulation: Law, Science & Policy (1992; 2d ed. 1996; 3d ed. 2000; 4th ed., 2003; 5th ed. 2006; 6th ed. 2009; 7th ed. 2013) (with others). [Abstract]

Editor, Law and the Environment: A Multidisciplinary Reader (1997) (with Dorothy C. Alevizatos).

The Roots of Justice: Crime and Punishment in Alameda County, California, 1870-1910 (1981) (with Lawrence M. Friedman).

Book Chapters

The Globalization of Enivronmental Law, in International Environmental Law: The Practitioner's Guide to the Laws of the Planet (Roger R. Martella Jr. & J. Brett Grosko eds., 2014).

Risk, Uncertainty and Precaution: Lessons from the History of US Environmental Law, in Trade and the Environment: The European Union Put to the Test (Marjolein B.A. van Asselt et al. eds., 2014). [Full Text]

Human Rights and the Evolution of Global Environmental Law, in 2 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1 (Subhram Rajkhowa & Stuti Deka eds., 2013). [Full Text]

International Responsibility and Liability for Environmental Harm, in Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law 681 (Shawkat Alam et al. eds., 2012). [Abstract]

Law, Society and the Environment, in Law, Society and History: Themes in the Legal Sociology and Legal History of Lawrence M. Friedman (Robert W. Gordon & Morton J. Horowitz eds., 2011).

La Responsabilidad por Daño Ambiental Global y la Evolución en las Relaciones entre el Derecho Público y Privado (Liability for Global Environmental Damage and the Evolution in the Relationship Between Public and Private Law), in Derecho Ambiental en Tiempos de Reformas (Environmental Law in Times of Reform) 99 (V. Duran Medina et al. eds., 2010). [Full Text]

El Surgimiento del Derecho Ambiental Global (The Emergence of Global Environmental Law), in Desarrollo Sustentable: Gobernanza y Derecho 11 (V. Duran, S. Montenegro & P. Moraga eds., 2008) (translation into Spanish by Ada I. Diaz-Hernandez). [Full Text]

Resolucion de Conflictos Ambientales: Lecciones Aprendidas de la Historia de la Contaminacion de las Fundiciones de Minerales, in Prevencion y Solucion de Conflictos Ambientales Vias Administrativas, Jurisdiccionales y Alternativas 399 (2004).

Global Environmental Accountability: The Missing Link in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development?, in The Moral Austerity of Environmental Decision Making: Sustainability, Democracy and Normative Argument in Policy and Law (J. M. Gilroy & J. Bowersox, eds. 2002).

Water Pollution Control: Lessons from Transnational Experience, in Derecho Del Medio Ambiente Congreso Internacional 273 (1998).

Restoring Regulatory Policy to Serve the Public Interest, in Winning America: Ideas and Leadership for the 1990s, at 48 (Marcus Raskin & Chester Hartman eds., 1988).

The Organometals: Impact of Accidental Exposure and Experimental Data on Regulatory Policy, in Neurotoxicants and Neurobiological Function: Effects of Organoheavy Metals 328 (Hugh A. Tilson & Sheldon B. Sparber eds., 1987) (with Ellen K. Silbergeld).

Conservation and Renewable Energy Sources as Supply Alternatives for New York’s Electric Utilities, in The Future of Electrical Energy: A Regional Perspective of an Industry in Transition 126 (Saltzman & Schuler eds., 1986).


The "Greening" of the Global Judiciary, Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law (forthcoming 2017). [Full Text]

Environmental Law in the Trump Administration, 4 Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review 225 (2017). [Full Text]

The Judge Who Climbed Mountains, 69 Stanford Law Review (forthcoming 2017). [Full Text]

Restating Environmental Law, 40 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 1 (2015) (with others).

The Role of Civil Society in Environmental Governance in the United States and China 24 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 142 (2014) (with Huiyu Zhao). [Full Text]

Book Review, 3 Transnational Environmental Law 407 (2014) (reviewing Rule of Law for Nature: New Dimensions and Ideas in Environmental Law, ed. Christina Voigt (2013)).

Presidential Power to Address Climate Change in an Era of Legislative Gridlock, 32 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 134 (2014). [Full Text]

With Gridlock in Congress, Agencies and Courts Take Center Stage, 5 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law E-Journal 294 (2014).

Looking Backward, Looking Forward: The Next 40 Years of Environmental Law, 43 Environmental Law Reporter 10492 (2013). [Full Text]

Can He Legally Do That? Does the President Have Directive Authority Over Agency Regulatory Decisions?, 37 Administrative Law & Regulatory Law News 4 (Spring 2012). [Full Text]

CERCLA in a Global Context, 41 Southwestern Law Review 727 (2012) (with Katherine H. Cooper and Matthew M. Gravens). [Full Text]

Setting the Bar for "Injury" in Environmental Cases: How Low Can it Go?, 42 Environmental Law Reporter 10785 (2012) (with John C. Cruden, Carla Burke, and John Guttmann). [Full Text]

Global Law and the Environment, 86 Washington Law Review 579 (2011). [Full Text]

China’s ‘Green Leap Forward’ Toward Global Environmental Leadership, 12 Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 633 (2011). [Full Text]

Who’s in Charge? Does the President Have Directive Authority over Agency Regulatory Decisions?, 79 Fordham Law Review 2487 (2011). [Full Text]

Liability for Environmental Harm and Emerging Global Environmental Law, 25 Maryland Journal of International Law 37 (2010). [Full Text]

The Emergence of Global Environmental Law, 36 Ecology Law Quarterly 101 (2009) (with Tseming Yang). [Full Text]

The Globalization of Environmental Law, 26 Pace Environmental Law Review 451 (2009). [Full Text]

Environmental Law in the 21st Century , in International Environmental Law and Comparative Environmental Law Review 204 (Wang Xi ed., 2008) (translated into Chinese by Professor Li Yanfang). [Full Text]

Environmental Law in the Twenty-First Century, 25 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 1 (2007).

Massachusetts v. EPA: Escaping the Common Law’s Growing Shadow, 2007 Supreme Court Review 111. [Full Text]

Who's Afraid of the Precautionary Principle?, 23 Pace Environmental Law Review 21 (2006). [Full Text]

Environmental Law in the Supreme Court: Highlights from the Blackmun Papers, 35 Environmental Law Reporter 10637 (2005). [Full Text]

Forum: Is Chinese Environmental Law up to the Task?, Environmental Forum, Sept. - Oct. 2005, at 44.

The Clean Water Act and the Demise of the Federal Common Law of Interstate Nuisance, 55 Alabama Law Review 717 (2004).

"Greening" the Constitution: Harmonizing Environmental and Constitutional Values, 32 Environmental Law 809 (2002).

Skeptical environmentalist or statistical spin-doctor?: Bjorn Lomborg and the Relationship between Environmental Law and Environmental Process, 53 Case Western Reserve Law Review 263 (2002).

Separation of Powers, the Presidency and the Environment, 21 Journal of Land, Resources and Environmental Law 25 (2001).

Escaping the Common Law’s Shadow: Standing in the light of Laidlaw, 12 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 119 (2001) (with Joanna B. Goger).

Presidential Management of the Administrative State: The Not-so-Unitary Executive, 51 Duke Law Journal 963 (2001).

Environmental Legislation and the Problem of Collective Action, 9 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, 9 (1998).

Regulatory Evolution and the Future of Environmental Policy, 1997 University of Chicago Legal Forum 159.

Responding to Environmental Risk: A Pluralistic Perspective, 14 Environmental Law Review 513 (1997).

Environmental Federalism: Historical Roots and Contemporary Models, 54 Maryland Law Review 1141 (1995).

Overcoming Interpretive Formalism: Legislative Reversals of Judicial Constructions of Sovereign Immunity Waivers in the Environmental Statutes, 43 Washington University Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law, 221 (1993).

The Ecology of Environmental Conflict: Risk, Uncertainty and the Transformation of Environmental Policy Disputes, 12 Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 209 (1992).

Checks without Balance: Executive Office Oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency, Law and Contemporary Problems, Autumn 1991, at 127.

Protecting Coastal and Estuarine Resources: Confronting the Gulf between the Promise and Product of Environmental Regulation, 47 Maryland Law Review 341 (1988).

The Processing of Felonies in the Superior Court of Alameda County, 5 Law & History Review 413 (1987) (with Lawrence M. Friedman).

The Bounds of Consent: Consent Decrees, Settlements and Federal Environmental Policymaking, 1987 University of Chicago Legal Forum 327.

The Role of Attorney Fee Shifting in Public Interest Litigation, Law & Contemporary Problems, Winter 1984, at 233.

Who Sues for Divorce?, 5 Journal of Legal Studies 61 (1976) (with Lawrence M. Friedman).

A Tale of Two Courts, 10 Law & Society Review 267 (1976) (with Lawrence M. Friedman).

Recent News featuring Robert Percival

February 28, 2017

Professor Robert Percival wrote an article Percival on the Role of Courts in Global Environment Law which appeared on the Legal Theory Blog.

February 27, 2017

Professor Robert Percival wrote the abstract Percival on the Role of Courts in Global Environmental Law which appeared on the Legal Theory Blog.

February 10, 2017

Professor Robert Percival was quoted in the article Trump order will be hard to overturn - legal experts which appeared on E&E News PM.

January 22, 2017

Professor Robert Percival wrote an article Trump's cabinet: Eight essential reads - SFGate which appeared on San Francisco Chronicle Online and San Antonio Express-News Online.

January 3, 2017

Professor Robert Percival wrote the article Can Legal Activist Scott Pruitt Undo Clean Air and Water Protections as Head of EPA? which appeared in the DeSmogBlog.

January 3, 2017

Professor Robert Percival wrote Can Right-Wing Anti-Govt. EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Undo Fundamental Clean Air and Water Protections? which appeared on AlterNet Online.

December 21, 2016

Professor Robert Percival wrote the article Can Trump's EPA pick undo clean air and water protections? which appeared online in the Salon.com

December 20, 2016

Professor Robert Percival wrote the article Can Trump destroy the Environmental Protection Agency & the Environment using EPA? was appeared in the Informed Comment.

December 19, 2016

Professor Robert Percival was quoted in the article Can legal activist Scott Pruitt undo clean air and water protections as head of EPA? which appeared in The Conversation.

November 13, 2016

Professor Robert Percival was quoted in the article Trump Win Could Meet Cases Over Obama Climate Regs which appeared on CoalZoom.com

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