Jonathan Z. Cannon

  • Blaine T. Phillips Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law Emeritus

Jonathan Cannon, who served as the inaugural director of the Law School’s Program in Law, Communities and the Environment (PLACE), joined the Law School faculty in 1998 from the Environmental Protection Agency, where he served as general counsel (1995-98) and assistant administrator for administration and resources management (1992-95). Prior to his work with the EPA, Cannon was in the private practice of environmental law; served as an adjunct professor at Washington and Lee Law School, where he taught environmental law; and was a lecturer at the Law School. Cannon is the author of the book “Environment in the Balance: The Green Movement and the Supreme Court.” He retired from UVA in May 2021.

Scholarship Profile: Finding a Way Forward on the Environment


  • J.D.
    University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • B.A.
    Williams College


Environment in the Balance: The Green Movement and the Supreme Court (Harvard University Press, 2015).

Reclaiming the Land: Rethinking Superfund Institutions, Methods, and Practices (editor with Gregg P. Macey) (Springer, 2007).

Book Chapters

“Judicial Review in the New Age of Deference” in Combating Climate Change With Section 115 of the Clean Air Act (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2020).

“Clean Water” in EPA at 50 (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming 2020).


"Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, and U.S. Environmentalism” (with Stephen Cushman), 42 Wm. & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol'y Rev. 1 (2017).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Have We Glimpsed the Environmentalist Future at Paris? — Toward a Theory of Change,” 129 Harv. L. Rev. F. 274 (2016).

“Taking Enforcement on Its Own Terms: EPA’s Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Litigation,” 5 Reg. & Governance 262 (2011).

"The Sounds of Silence: Cost Benefit Canons in Entergy Corp. v. Riverkeeper, Inc.," 34 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 425 (2010).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“America’s Energy Future: Balancing Renewable Power and Carbon Fuel” (with Michael R. Bucy), White Paper, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia (2009).

“Respecting EPA,” 39 Envtl. L. Rep. 10365 (2009).

“Over the Life of a Site,” Envtl. F., Sept./Oct. 2008, at 27.

“Sustainable Watersheds,” 107 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 74 (2008).

“A Bargain for Clean Water,” 17 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 608 (2008).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Environmental Other: Finding and Losing Ourselves in Nature,” in Jessica R. Feldman & Robert Stilling, eds., What Should I Read Next? 104 (University of Virginia Press, 2008).

“Words and Worlds: The Supreme Court in Rapanos and Carabell,” 25 Va. Envtl. L. J. 277 (2007).
SSRN HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Significance of Massachusetts v. EPA,” 93 Va. L. Rev. In Brief 53 (2007).

"Checking in on the Chesapeake: Some Questions of Design," 40 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1131 (2006).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Environmentalism and the Supreme Court: A Cultural Analysis," 33 Ecol. L. Q. 363 (2006).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“Adaptive Management in Superfund: Thinking Like a Contaminated Site,” 13 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 561 (2005), reprinted in Gregg P. Macey & Jonathan Z. Cannon, eds., Reclaiming the Land: Rethinking Superfund Institutions, Methods, and Practices 49 (Springer, 2007).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Presidential Greenspeak: How Presidents Talk About the Environment and What It Means" (with Jonathan Riehl), 23 Stan. Envtl. L.J. 195 (2004).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“How Local Environmental Laws Can Further Federal Environmental Goals,” in John R. Nolon, ed., New Ground: The Advent of Local Environmental Law 243 (Environmental Law Institute, 2003).

“Bargaining, Politics and Law in Environmental Regulation,” in Eric W. Orts & Kurt Deketelaere, eds., Environmental Contracts: Comparative Approaches to Regulatory Innovation in the United States and Europe 39 (Kluwer Law International, 2001).

“EPA and Congress (1994-2000): Who's Been Yanking Whose Chain?,” 31 Envtl. L. Rep. 10942 (2001).

“Public Policy and Law since Love Canal,” 8 Buff. Envtl. L.J. 243 (2001).

"Choices and Institutions in Watershed Management," 25 Wm. & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol’y Rev. 379 (2000).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Managing Growth in the Twenty-First Century: Philosophies, Strategies, Institutions: Introductory Remarks,” 19 Va. Envtl. L.J. 241 (2000).

“The EPA and the Application of Chevron in the D.C. Circuit,” in ALI-ABA Course of Study: Hazardous Wastes, Superfund, and Toxic Substances, Nov. 21, 1998, at 15.

“Geographic Approaches to Environmental Management: Bioregionalism Applied,” in Proceedings, Watershed ’93: A National Conference on Watershed Management 281 (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1993).

“Superfund Liability Provisions: Impact on the Industrial and Insurance Sectors,” in U.S. Waste Management Policies: Impact on Economic Growth and Investment Strategies 86 (American Council for Capital Formation, 1992).

“Rethinking the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for the 1990s” (with Marcia E. Williams), 21 Envtl L. Rep. 10063 (1991).

“Superfund Transaction Costs: A Critical Perspective on the Superfund Liability Scheme” (with William N. Hedeman and David M. Friedland), 21 Envtl L. Rep. 10413 (1991).

Current Courses

No courses were found for this instructor.

All Courses

Environmental Ethics (seminar)
Environmental Law
Environmental Lawyering: Principles and Practice
Environmental Liability Litigation (seminar)
Environmental Liability Litigation
Seminar in Ethical Values
Land Use Law




Professor Jon Cannon on "Environment in the Balance"

Faculty in the News