Nearly half a century after Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring helped launch the modern environmental movement, the nation’s environmental statutes are showing signs of age. New challenges have arisen – climate change, most notably, but others that also threaten the safety of the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat and more. In their new book, Beyond Environmental Law: Policy Proposals for a Better Environmental Future, CPR Member Scholars David Driesen and Alyson Flournoy compile original chapter contributions by leading environmental scholars assessing how to craft effective environmental standards to combat the environmental challenges of the 21st Century.
Published in March 2010 by Cambridge University Press in hardback, paperback, or Kindle, Beyond Environmental Law proposes two new statutes: an Environmental Legacy Act to preserve a defined environmental legacy for future generations, and an Environmental Competition Statute to spark movement to new clean technologies. The first proposal would require for the first time that the federal government define an environmental legacy that it must preserve for future generations. The second would establish a market competition to maximize environmental protection.
The authors note that the nation’s first generation of environmental laws – the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and others – sought broad protection of health and the environment, but in a fragmented way. The second generation sought to enhance environmental laws’ efficiency through cost-benefit analysis and market mechanisms – cap-and-trade programs, for example. The “next generation” of laws they propose emody bold and ambitious reforms designed to make the law more environmentally protective, while reinforcing the concept of sustainability.
Chapter 3: Shifting baselines and backsliding benchmarks: the need for a national environmental legacy act to address the ecologies of restoration, resilience, and reconciliation, by Thomas T. Ankersen and Kevin E. Regan;
Chapter 4: Valuing nature: the challenge of a national environmental legacy act, by Mary Jane Angelo and Mark T. Brown;
Chapter 5: Citizen science and the next generation of environmental law, by Christine Overdevest and Brian Mayer;
Chapter 6: Creating NELA information: the double standard, by Walter A. Rosenbaum;
Chapter 7: The Constitution and our debt to the future, by Rena Steinzor.