William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


Kristen Gartner


Natural disasters are increasing at an alarming rate. As of this writing, the top five deadliest disasters occurred after 1970, and the top five most economically devastating occurred in the years since 2005, with three of them occurring in 2017. These increasing storms are exacerbated by the worsening of climate change and global warming. The problem will continue to increase if federal and state governments fail to properly regulate and prepare for these natural disasters. This Note will specifically discuss the regulation and prevention of landslides by comparing them to the regulation of flooding. Other examples of natural disaster regulation that this Note will not discuss include building codes for earthquake protection and wildfire prevention regulations in the west.


This Note will argue that government intervention is crucial to alleviate the burden caused by the changing climate and the increase of storms. Part I discusses the background of landslides, including the importance of landslide mapping and education. Part II compares landslides to flooding and shows how they can be addressed similarly, yet as of now are treated differently. The Conclusion illustrates gaps in regulation as it stands now and proposes that adjustments should be made. These modifications should focus on preparation of these events by the government instead of reacting to them as they occur.

This abstract has been taken from the author's introduction.