The Environmental Law Institute’s July 2009 issue of The Environmental Law Reporter is focused on “The National Environmental Policy Act at 40: How a Visionary Statute Confronts 21st Century Impacts.” The articles in the issue came from a joint conference sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute, George Washington University Law School, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
My article, Interstate Environmental Impact Assessment, 39 Environmental Law Reporter 10667 (2009), proposes a new state-based policy that builds on the National Environmental Policy Act’s Environmental Impact Statement process to address interstate environmental harms. Interstate environmental harms, which occur when decisions or actions in one state produce negative environmental impacts in another state, have challenged American environmental law for over a century. Interstate environmental impact assessment would provide a procedural mechanism for an affected state and its citizens to influence the source state and minimize or prevent interstate environmental harms. The process itself would address the underlying problems of inadequate information, public process bias, and traditional economic externalities, and also produce information to improve federal adjudication and regulation when disputes arise over continuing harms.
This new article is a pretty quick read, basically a shortened version of one of my previous articles, Political Externalities, Federalism, and a Proposal for an Interstate Environmental Impact Assessment Policy, 32 Harvard Environmental Law Review 49 (2008). In addition to proposing the new interstate environmental impact assessment policy, it details the BP refinery’s Lake Michigan pollution fight as an example of the type of problem the policy would address. And as a bonus, the editors of The Environmental Law Reporter confirmed that it is the first article they have ever published that references a live Pearl Jam performance.