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This is a time of high tensions between the federal government and the states over environmental regulation. The flashpoints include actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against states that enact laws shielding environmental audit reports from discovery; the withdrawal of several states from certain regulatory reform programs and delegated programs; and EPA accusations that some states are ignoring many violations of the pollution control laws, and loud denials by state representatives.

The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the complex of federal environmental statutes enacted in the 1970s and 1980s still give Washington the upper hand in most of these battles. However, several new tools are now emerging that enable the states – and, in some instances, municipalities and the private sector – to resist federal environmental directives and actions.

Some of the new tools are provided by Congress, and some are provided by judges in their interpretations of the Constitution. This Dialogue is devoted to a discussion of these new tools.


Environmental Law | Law