Article Title

Fossil Fuels, Takings, and Rawlsian Justice

Publication Title

Washington University Jurisprudence Review


Effective regulation of the fossil fuel industry is a difficult problem, made more complicated by the possibility that such regulation may be interpreted as a taking under the 5th Amendment. This means that any potential regulation of fossil fuel extraction potentially exposes the federal government to large financial liability. This Note will demonstrate why John Rawls’s Theory of Justice ought to inform the measure of compensation for takings. Then it will apply Rawls and the existing takings cases to show that the value of fossil fuel deposits for the purposes of compensation for a taking should be zero.