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From California habitats to Massachusetts toxics, the United States is in the midst of a fundamental reorientation of its environmental regulation, one that is as improbable as it is unremarked Minimally, the new forms of regulation promise to improve the quality of our environment At a maximum, they suggest a novel form of democracy that combines the virtues oflocalism and decentraliz.ation with the discipline of national coordination.

In substance and spirit, this new approach to regulation grows out of the tradition of backyard environmentalism. For two decades, residents of Woburn, Love Canal, and countless other communities across the country have organiz.ed to reclaim authority over their lived environment These pioneers of citiz.en environmental activism typically fought to keep harmful activity out of their neighborhoods-hence the acronym NIMBY, for Not In My Backyard. In their struggles to protect themselves and their children from poisoned air, soil, and water, ordinary citiz.ens have often been pitted against certified experts from corporations, government, and even big environmental organiz.ations.


Environmental Law | Law