Breaking the Logjam of Environmental Reform

by Howard Silverman

The Breaking the Logjam project is organized by New York Law School and New York University School of Law professors David Schoenbrod, Richard Stewart, and Katrina Wyman.

From the background:

For almost 20 years, political polarization and a lack of leadership have left environmental protection in the United States burdened with obsolescent statutes and regulatory strategies.  As a result, the country has failed to deal effectively or decisively with many pressing old environmental problems as well as newly emerging ones.  There is accordingly an urgent need for innovative strategies for environmental protection that will break the political logjam and meet environmental challenges that have been increasingly complex.

From the principles:

Principle 1: Traditional hierarchical regulatory approaches should be complemented by market and property right-like mechanisms such as cap and trade programs, and information disclosure, whenever these tools can reliably achieve environmental objectives.

Principle 2: Authority should be realigned so that the federal government has direct responsibility for national and transnational environmental problems, and states and their subdivisions have more independent responsibility for essentially local ones.

Principle 3: Trade-offs should be faced openly and made on the basis of reliable information.

Principle 4: Regulatory approaches should be crosscutting and address underlying causes.

I'll be posting on articles from the seminar, which are published in the NYU Environmental Law Journal (pdf).