Senior Lecturer

Christopher Brooks is an environmental attorney and educator with expertise in environmental law and policy. His research and teaching focuses on environmental problems at the intersection of land use and water quality. Much of his recent research relates to the scope of jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and how court decisions and federal regulatory actions impact the protection of wetlands in the United States. He is very interested in cooperative federalism and the evolving relationship between the federal government and the states in implementing, administering, and enforcing environmental policies.

Chris’s courses highlight the interdisciplinary nature of public policy so that students consider how law, science, politics, economics, and a myriad of social factors all interact to form the environment in which we live and the ways in which we live in it. His goal is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge needed to stimulate critical thinking about environmental problems and to connect students to the surrounding community through service learning projects that link abstract concepts to real world experience. Chris lives with his wife, two children, and dog in Middlebury, Vermont where he enjoys gardening, skiing, and exploring the Green Mountains.


  • Brooks, C. (2019) “State Assumption of Section 404 Permitting: The Ongoing Evolution of Cooperative Federalism under the Clean Water Act” American Bar Association, Section on Environment Energy & Resources, Water Quality and Wetlands report, December 2019.
  • Brooks, C. & Redick, Thomas P. (2016) “WOTUS Wars and Endangered Species – Where Will Farmers Find Their Legal High Ground?” Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 31, Number 2, Fall 2016.
  • Brooks C. & Park J. (2016) “Local Flood Resiliency in an Era of Global Climate Change: Understanding the Multi-Sectoral Policy Dimensions” Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, Vol.17 Issue 2.
  • Brooks, C. (2016) “Rehnquist, Federalism, and Waters of the United States”. American Bar Association, joint publication of Constitutional Law, Water Quality and Wetlands, and Water Resources Committees. Vol. 14, No. 2.
  • Brooks, C. (2015) “Will a New Approach Fly? FWS Considers Incorporating an Incidental Take Program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act” Trends, ABA Environment, Energy & Resources. Vol. 47 No. 2.
  • Brooks, C. (2015) “Ocean Acidification, the Gulf ‘Dead Zone’, and Cooperative Federalism under the Clean Water Act”. American Bar Association, Section on Environment Energy & Resources, Agricultural Management Committee, Vol. 19. No. 5.
  • Brooks, C. (2014) Clean Water Act Confusion: Federal Courts Split on Application of the Rapanos Decision. American Bar Association, Section on Environment Energy & Resources, Agricultural Management Committee, Vol. 18, No.4.
Chris Brooks

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Instructional programs: Natural Resources; Sustainability, Ecology and Policy
Research: Environmental policy, land use planning, watershed management and flood resiliency, climate change mitigation and adaptation


  • Juris Doctor, Vermont Law School, 2010
  • Masters of Environmental Law and Policy, Vermont Law School, 2007
  • B.A. History/Political Science, Sewanee: The University of the South, 2004


  • 802-656-9570
Office Location:

204A Aiken Center, 81 Carrigan Dr