Zygmunt J. B. Plater is a Professor of Law at Boston College Law School, teaching
and researching in the areas of environmental, property, land use, and administrative
agency law. Over the past 30 years he has been involved with a number of issues of
environmental protection and land use regulation, including service as petitioner and
lead counsel in the extended endangered species litigation over the Tennessee Valley
Authority's Tellico Dam, representing the endangered snail darter, farmers, Cherokee
Indians, and environmentalists in the Supreme Court of the United States, federal
agencies, and congressional hearings. He was chairman of the State of Alaska Oil Spill
Commission’s Legal Task Force over a two-year period after the wreck of the M/V
Exxon-Valdez. He was a consultant to plaintiffs in the Woburn toxic litigation, Anderson
et al. v. W.R. Grace et al., the subject of the book and movie A Civil Action. In 2010,
drawing upon his work chairing the legal research task force for the State of Alaska Oil
Spill Commission in 1989-90, he acted as a consultant and commentator for government
staff and media coping with the BP Deepwater Horizon Blowout in the Gulf of Mexico,
initiating a national symposium on the disaster, and, with 37 students, organizing a
major Submission to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and
Offshore Drilling. See: http://www.bc.edu/environmentallaw. 

Professor Plater has taught on seven law faculties. While teaching public law for three
years in the national university of Ethiopia, he redrafted the laws protecting parks and
refuges, assisted in publication of the Consolidated Laws of Ethiopia, and helped
organize the first United Nations Conference on Individual Rights in Africa. 

Articles Professor Plater has published include analyses of environmental law issues,
private and public rights in land and resources, equitable discretion, administrative
law, and related fields. Several of his articles have been cited in Supreme Court
decisions. He is lead author of Environmental Law and Policy: Nature, Law, and Society,
now in its fourth edition, Aspen Publishers, 2010. His most recent articles focus on the
interaction among environment, economics, and social governance. Several of these most
recent articles focus on lessons from the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill in
the Gulf of Mexico. He was voted the recipient of the Emil Slizewski Faculty Excellence
Award by the BCLS Class of 2000 and received the 2005 David Brower Lifetime Achievement
Award presented by the Land Air Water Association at the Twenty-third International
Public Environmental Law Conference. In 2011, by student vote, he was named Public
Interest Law Professor of the Year, Boston College Public Interest Law Foundation. 



Environmental Law and Policy: Nature, Law and Society (with Robert H. Abrams, Robert L. Graham, Lisa Heinzerling, David A. Wirth, and Noah D. Hall) (2010)

Works in Progress



Joseph Sax, A Human Kaleidoscope, Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law (2014)

Contributions to Books


The 'Three Economies' (with Robert H. Abrams), Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology (2008)
Simulated Pre-Trial Conferencing, Teaching the Law School Curriculum (2004)


Demystifying the Law: Adding an Environmental Law Course to Environmental Studies Curricula, Confronting Environmental Challenges in a Changing World (1991)


An Emergency Resource Requisitioning System for Response to Future Oil Spills, Spill: The Wreck of the Exxon Valdez Appendix M (1990)


Judicial Remedies for Prevention of Future Oil Spills, Spill: The Wreck of the Exxon Valdez Appendix M (1990)

Popular Press & Media Appearances


The Snail Darter and the Dam, Radio Boston, WBUR (2013)

Selected Professional Activities

Eugene Odum Memorial Environmental Ethics Lecture, University of Georgia Willson Center & Environmental Ethics Certificate Program (2015)
Endangered Species Legal Practice Program Lectures, Vanderbilt University Law School (2015)
Organizer and Presenter, The Multifaceted Legacies of Joseph Sax, 1936-2014, American Society for Environmental History Annual Meeting (2015)
Author Meets Critics: Zygmunt Plater's The Snail Darter and the Dam..., New England Political Science Association 2014 Annual Meeting (2014)