Victor B. Flatt

Print This Page (PDF) Thomas F. and Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law; Director, Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics (CE3)


  • J.D. (Cum Laude; Order of the Coif), Northwestern University (1988)
  • B.A., Chemistry and Mathematics (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Vanderbilt University (1985)

Victor B. Flatt is the Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law, the Co-Director of the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics (CE3), and the Co-Director of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Law, Planning, and Policy Center. He also has an appointment as a Distinguished Scholar in Carbon Markets and Carbon Trading at the Global Energy Management Institute at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business where he lectures on regulatory risks to the energy industry, and is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. Flatt teaches courses in environmental law, energy law, natural resources, interagency environmental cooperation, international environmental law, climate change, and the practice of environmental markets. In the summer, he has taught the Alaska Natives and Environmental Law course in Anchorage, Alaska, which focuses on the intersection of Alaska Native Law, Resource Extraction Law, the Endangered Species Act, and Environmental Law.

His scholarship has focused on the administration and enforcement of environmental and resource statutes, particularly the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and NEPA. Recently, he has focused on the legislative and regulatory mechanisms needed to address climate change in the United States. In particular, he has written about and advised policy makers on offsets, and the impact of offsets on a carbon market; and the emergence of climate change adaptation policy. He has published articles in many notable journals, including the Notre Dame Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, Washington Law Review, and Ecology Law Quarterly. Seven of his articles have been finalists or selected as one of the best environmental law articles of the year in the compendium the Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law; and one article "Environmental Enforcement in Dire Straits," was re-presented with commentary to Capital Hill policy makers by the Environmental Law Institute and Vanderbilt University in the 2011 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review. Flatt has also published numerous op-eds on environmental, energy, and resource issues, and does a regular blog regarding climate change issues and energy for the Houston Chronicle. He represented then U.S. Senators Clinton, Boxer, Leahy, Jeffords, and Kerry, in their challenge to the Bush Administrations New Source Review rules; and participated as amicus in the state of North Carolina's common law challenge to the Tennessee Valley Auithority.

Before coming to Chapel Hill, Flatt served as the first A.L. O'Quinn Chair in Environmental Law at the University of Houston Law Center, where he was also director of the Center for Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Law. He has visited at the University of Washington, Seattle University, the University of Georgia, and Roger Williams University. He received his B.A. in Chemistry and Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University, where he was a Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholar. He received his J.D., cum laude and Order of the Coif, from Northwestern University School of Law, where he was a John Henry Wigmore Scholar. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, before beginning practice in environmental compliance at Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson in Seattle, Washington. Professor Flatt began his teaching career at the University of Washington's Graduate School of Public Affairs in 1993, and became and associate professor at Georgia State University College of law in 1995.

Professor Flatt is a former national board member of Lambda Legal and Build Clean.

Research Appendices

Report: Impact of Proposed Constitutional Amendment Banning Recognition of Same Sex Relationship Benefits or Same Sex Marriage in North Carolina? Impact on Community and Business Development (PDF)

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Selected Publications

Show All Publications

  • Unsettled: How Climate Change Challenges a Foundation of Our Legal System, and Adapting the Legal State, 2016 BYU L. REV. 1395 (2017). [Westlaw, SSRN, Hein, BEPress, Document Link]
  • Restating Environmental Law (with T. Hester, R. Percival, I. Russell & J. Mintz), 40 COLUM. J. ENVTL L. 1 (2015). Excerpt published as Time for a Restatement, ENVTL. FORUM, Jan.-Feb. 2015 at 38. [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • C(r)ap and Trade: The Brave New World of Non-point Source Nutrient Trading and Using Lessons from Greenhouse Gas Markets to Make it Work, 52 HOUS. L. REV. 301 (2014). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
  • Not One Without the Other: The Challenge of Integrating U.S. Environment, Energy, Climate, and Economic Policy (V. Flatt, H. Payne), 44 ENVTL. L. 1079 (2014). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • Too Big to Jail or Too Abstract (or Rich?) to Care, 72 MD. L. REV. 1345 (2013). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein]
  • Adapting Laws for a Changing World: A Systemic Approach to Climate Change Adaptation, 64 FLA. L. REV. 269 (2012). [Westlaw, SSRN, Hein, BEPress, Document Link (PDF)]
  • Adaptation, Legal Resiliency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Managing Water Supply in a Climate-Altered World (with J. Tarr), 89 N.C. L. REV. 1499 (2011) [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
  • Environmental Enforcement in Dire Straits: There is No Protection for Nothing and No Data for Free, 85 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 55 (2009), reprinted in 41 ENVTL. L. REP. NEWS & ANALYSIS 10679 (2011). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
  • Taking the Legislative Temperature: Which Federal Climate Change Legislative Proposal is "Best"?, 102 NW. U. L. REV. COLLOQUY 123 (2007), reprinted in CASES AND MATERIALS ON ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (Daniel Farber, Jody Freeman, and Ann E. Carlson, 8th ed., St. Paul, MN: West, c2010). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Document Link (PDF) KF3775 .F37 2010]
  • THE CONTROL OF AIR TOXICS: TOXICOLOGY MOTIVATION AND HOUSTON IMPLICATIONS (with A. Clements, M. Fraser, W. Hamilton, P. Ledvina, S. Mathur, A. Tamhane, and J. Ward) (2006). [Document Link (PDF)]
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

If you are seeing this, you are either using a non-graphical browser or Netscape 4.x (4.7, 4.8, etc.) and this page appears very plain. If you are using a 4.x version of Netscape, this site is fully functional but lacks styles and optimizations available in other browsers. For full functionality, please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer or Firefox.