I am often asked why I decided to specialize in environmental law. Not many folks with my political perspective choose to do so; environmental law is hardly a "glamor" subject on the political right.
My primary answer is that I find environmental law very challenging and rewarding because of the nature of the trade-offs involved. On the one hand, environmental law concerns our efforts to protect human health and the world around us. Failure to provide for environmental protection can leave the world a less safe, less vibrant, and less beautiful place. On the other hand, because environmental concerns are ubiquitous, environmental law itself can pose a serious threat to individual liberty. Today, environmental protection is probably the only intellectually respectable basis for urging policies that amount to central planning. As I see it, the stakes are enormous on both sides, making this a challenging and important field, and one that is worth far more serious attention from those who generally prefer limited government.
Of course, there are other reasons I enjoy environmental law that are more difficult to put into words. I was reminded of this yesterday when I landed a 21-inch brown trout while floating through Paradise Valley on the Yellowstone River. Such experiences give me a connection to my work that are difficult to articulate.
[For those who are curious, I caught the trout on a fly rod using flies with pinched barbs, and all fish were returned to the river properly so as to ensure their survival. I don't fish for trout any other way.]