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 Noah Matthew Sachs
Noah Matthew Sachs
Professor of Law
Director, Robert R. Merhige Jr. Center for Environmental Studies
Courses Taught Torts Environmental Law International Environmental Law Environmental Lawyering

Professor Noah Sachs is Director of the Law School's Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies and teaches and writes in the areas of environmental law, torts, and administrative law. His scholarship, which focuses on climate change, toxic substance and hazardous waste regulation, and transboundary pollution, has appeared in the UCLA Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and University of Illinois Law Review, among other venues, and his co-authored text, Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste, is the leading casebook on toxic substances regulation. Professor Sachs was awarded the University of Richmond's Distinguished Educator award in 2013, the highest recognition for teaching and scholarship on the faculty. He was also chosen as the University of Richmond's Outstanding Faculty nominee in the rising star category to the Virginia State Council of Higher Education in 2009. Professor Sachs was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in India in the spring of 2014, where he focused on emerging environmental markets in India and the challenges of implementing market-oriented environmental reforms in developing countries. Professor Sachs has been a Member Scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform in Washington, D.C. since 2010.

Presenter, "Toxic Floodwaters: Strengthening the Chemical Safety Regime in the Climate Change Era," Water Law Works in Progress Workshop, University of Utah (December 2020)
Presenter, "Toxic Floodwaters: Strengthening the Chemical Safety Regime in the Climate Change Era," Innovative Strategies to Prevent Climate-Driven Pollution, Center for Progressive Reform (November 2020)
Presenter, "Cowpasture River Preservation Assn v. Forest Service," ABA Annual Webinar: Environmental Law at the Supreme Court, American Bar Association (September 2020)
Presenter, "Climate-Induced Flooding and Toxic Floodwaters," Hearing of the State Water Control Board, Commonwealth of Virginia (December 2019)
Presenter, "Climate-Induced Flooding and Legislative Remedies," Hearing of the Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding, Virginia General Assembly (August 2019)
Presenter, "The Pipeline Meets the Appalachian Trail," Environmental Writers Conference, Middlebury College (June 2019)
Presenter, "Toxic Floodwaters in Virginia," Richmond Local Emergency Planning Committee, City of Richmond (June 2019)
Presenter, "Toxic Floodwaters," ClimenkoFest workshop, Harvard Law School (April 2019)
Presenter, "Navigating The Academic Job Market," ClimenkoFest workshop, Harvard Law School (March 2019)
Presenter, "The Paris Agreement in the 2020s: Breakdown or Breakup," UR Faculty Writing Workshop, UR Law (March 2019)
Presenter, "Environmental Law after the 2018 Mid-Term Elections," Scholars Workshop, Center for Progressive Reform (January 2019)
Commentator, "Incorporating Lawyering Skills in Doctrinal Courses," AALS Annual Meeting, AALS (January 2019)
Bar Admissions
New York
Professional Experience
Professor and Faculty Director, Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies (2012 - present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Associate Professor and Faculty Director, Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies (2009 - 2012)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Assistant Professor of Law (2006 - 2009)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Lecturer (2004 - 2006)
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA
Adjunct Professor (2005 - 2005)
Vermont Law School, South Royalton, VT
Guest Lecturer (2003 - 2004)
Tufts University, Boston, MA
Associate, Environmental Practice (2002 - 2004)
Foley Hoag LLP, Boston, MA
Associate, Environmental Practice (1999 - 2002)
Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, New York, NY
Journal Articles

Strengthening the Chemical Safety Regime in the Climate Change Era, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law (2020).

Toxic Floodwaters: Strengthening the Chemical Safety Regime in the Climate Change Era, 45 (Columbia Journal of Environmental Law) (2020).

The Paris Agreement in the 2020s: Breakdown or Breakup, 49 Ecology Law Quarterly 865 (2019).

Should the United States Create Trading Markets for Energy Efficiency?, 46 Environmental Law Reporter 10466 (2016).

The Limits of Energy Efficiency Markets in Climate-Change Law, 2016 University of Illinois Law Review 2237 (2016).

Climate Change Triage, 44 Environmental Law 993 (2014).

Rescuing the Strong Precautionary Principle from Its Critics, 2011 University of Illinois Law Review 1285 (2011).

Greening Demand: Energy Consumption and U.S. Climate Policy, 19 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 295 (2009).

Blocked Pathways: Potential Legal Responses to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, 24 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 289 (1999).


Environmental Law Practice: Problems and Exercises for Skills Development (Carolina Academic Press 4th) (with Jerry Anderson et al.) (2018).

Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste (Foundation Press 3d Ed.) (with John Applegate et al.) (2018).

The Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes: Cases and Materials (with John Applegate et al.) (2011).

Book Chapters

Hazardous Substances and Activities, in OXFORD HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (2020).

The Shift in Power in the European Union and its Consequences for Energy and the Environment, in International Environmental Law: A Practitioner's Guide to the Planet (American Bar Association) (2014).

Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals, in Encyclopedia of Sustainability (2011).

Book Reviews

The Effluent of Affluence: Challenging the Cult of More-Is-Better, The Environmental Forum 7 (2007).

Instructional Materials
Blog Posts

Stocktaking and ratcheting after Paris, Center for Progressive Reform Blog (December 2015).

What will "common but differentiated responsibility" mean after Paris?, Center for Progressive Reform Blog (December 2015).

What's Under Construction in Copenhagen?, PrawfBlawg (December 2009).

Collective Action in Copenhagen, PrawfsBlawg (November 2009).

"Legally Binding" versus "Politically Binding" Climate Deal, PrawfsBlawg (November 2009).

Stanford Law Spouses: Sandra Day and John O'Connor, PrawfsBlawg (November 2009).

Law School Classes on a Workshop Model, PrawfsBlawg (November 2009).

The Supreme Court Decision to Let Mexican Trucks Roll: Why It May Leave Two Environmental Laws in the Dust, (June 2004).

Muddy Waters: Why Both Sides are Declaring Victory After a Supreme Court Clean Water Act Decision, (April 2004).

Magazine/Trade Publications

Can the Appalachian Trail Block a Natural Gas Pipeline?, The American Prospect (August 2019).

Reinventing Fire Making Energy Efficiency a Reality, 22 Richmond Law Magazine 15 (2010).

Newspaper Articles

A Call to Action on t he Risk of Toxic Floodwaters, (Richmond Times Dispatch) (March 2019).

Time to Upgrade Drinking Water Protections, Richmond Times-Dispatch (January 2015).

Op-Ed: Chemical Spill a Wake-Up Call for Virginia, The Richmond Times-Dispatch (January 2014).

When It REINS It Pours, The New Republic Online (February 2011).

Additional Publications

Toxic Floodwaters: The Threat of Climate-Driven Chemical Disaster (Center for Progressive Reform) (with David Flores) (March 2019).

Protecting the Public from BPA: An Action Plan for Federal , Center for Progressive Reform White Paper (with Thomas McGarity et al.) (2012).

Reclaiming Global Environmental Leadership: Why the United States Should Ratify Ten Pending Environmental Treaties , Center for Progressive Reform White Paper (with Mary Angelo et al.) (January 2012).

In the News

The Trump Climate Policy Disasters That Biden Can Undo Immediately (Vice)
Thu., Nov. 19, 2020

Argument analysis: The trail, the pipeline and a journey to the center of the earth (SCOTUSblog)
Tue., Feb. 25, 2020

Pipeline Backers Optimistic After Supreme Court Hearing (1)
Mon., Feb. 24, 2020

Supreme Court to hear pipeline case (WDBJ7)
Fri., Feb. 21, 2020

Here's Exactly How a Trump 2020 Win Would Spark a Nightmare Climate Scenario (Vice)
Wed., Feb. 12, 2020

Paris Climate Agreement and US withdrawal (Morning Wave)
Wed., Nov. 13, 2019

The Paris climate agreement is at risk of falling apart in the 2020s (Vox)
Tue., Nov. 5, 2019

The Paris Agreement in the 2020s: Breakdown or Breakup? (Opinio Juris)
Fri., Oct. 25, 2019

What to watch in the Appalachian Trail pipeline fight (Energywire)
Mon., Oct. 7, 2019

Shoreline industry poses hazards as sea level, floods increase (Bay Journal)
Tue., Aug. 27, 2019

Op-Ed: A call to action on the risk of toxic floodwaters in Virginia (Richmond Times Dispatch)
Tue., Mar. 19, 2019

New Report on Climate-Driven 'Toxic Flood' Threats in Virginia (Eco Magazine)
Tue., Mar. 12, 2019

California court tells Monsanto to pay out $289 million (Knowledge at Wharton via SiriusXM)
Mon., Aug. 20, 2018

Trump's EPA may be weakening chemical safety law (Scientific American)
Wed., Aug. 16, 2017

How the EPA chief could gut the agency's climate change regulations (The Hill)
Sun., Mar. 12, 2017

The BPA debate is back, as workers exposed to levels 70 times the average (The Guardian)
Sun., Jan. 22, 2017

Op-ed: Time to upgrade drinking water protections (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Wed., Jan. 18, 2017

Will the new toxic chemical safety law protect us? (The conversation)
Thu., Jun. 16, 2016

West Coast cities sue Monsanto to pay for chemical cleanup (High Country News)
Mon., May. 16, 2016

Art gallery: "India Becoming" at Weinstein JCC (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Wed., Jan. 20, 2016

House votes to reform toxic chemical regulation for the first time in nearly 40 years (Climate Progress)
Wed., Jun. 24, 2015

The City Of San Diego Is Suing Monsanto. Can It Win? (Think Progress)
Wed., Mar. 25, 2015

Virginia Must Guard Against Freedom Industries - type spill (Befpre It's News)
Mon., Jan. 26, 2015

Bakken crude oil production relies on rail shipments (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sat., Aug. 30, 2014

Crude oil spilled from train may be in James River mud (Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Roanoke Times)
Wed., May. 7, 2014

EPA still trying to clean state's Superfund sites (Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Roanoke Times)
Sat., Apr. 5, 2014

Virginia water supplies so far unaffected by Dan River coal ash spill (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Water Environment Federation)
Sat., Feb. 8, 2014

Murphy: Reversing Virginia's toxic legacy (The Virginian-Pilot)
Fri., Feb. 7, 2014

Undermanned And Limited, Chemical Safety Board Confronts A Crisis (NPR)
Mon., Feb. 3, 2014

Fatal chemical accidents expose weak federal laws (USA Today, Daily Record)
Tue., Jan. 28, 2014

Va. urged to toughen toxic-chemical laws (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sun., Jan. 19, 2014

W.Va. chemical spill poses a new test for lawmakers (The Washington Post, The Oregonian, Norwich Bulletin, Charleston Daily Mail, The Tribune-Review)
Sun., Jan. 19, 2014

Obama's Plan to Bypass Congress: Big Talk, Little Action (The Fiscal Times)
Wed., Aug. 7, 2013

Don't Undercut Consumer Financial Protection Agencies: Independence (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Mon., Nov. 26, 2012

Agenda 21: Fact, Not Conspiracy (WND)
Fri., Mar. 23, 2012

Agenda 21: plot or paranoia? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sun., Mar. 18, 2012

Urgent overhaul of bisphenol A regs needed to protect public - report (
Tue., Jan. 31, 2012

Little Progress on Regulating BPA, Report Finds (ConsumerAffairs)
Fri., Jan. 27, 2012

Federal regulators have failed to act on toxic chemical, report says (The Center for Public Integrity)
Thu., Jan. 26, 2012

Report faults regulators for failing to crack down on BPA (E&E News)
Thu., Jan. 26, 2012

B.A., Brown University 1993
J.D., Stanford Law School 1999
M.P.P., Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs 1999
Contact Information
Room 216, Law School
(804) 289 8555
(804) 289 8992 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Environmental Law and International Environmental Law
Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste Regulation
Climate Change
Transboundary Pollution