Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Environmental Law, Doctrinal Issues In
Stephen C. McCaffrey & Rachael E. Salcido
Environmental law regulates human interaction with the environment. A complex area of law, its breadth includes controls over land use, the management and protection of natural resources and wildlife, the regulation of hazardous substances, and the remediation of contaminated sites. Environmental law and policy issues are frequently controversial for several reasons. Environmental impacts can take many years to appear and still longer to repair, if indeed repair is possible. Nor is it always possible to anticipate and avoid such impact altogether because science sometimes cannot predict with certainty the effects human activities will have on the environment. Even when the cause and extent of environmental impact is identified, competing values—social, economic, and ethical—may impede consensus among decision makers on the need for, as well as the form and extent of, a response. Furthermore, environmental effects do not respect political boundaries. A coordinated intergovernmental response is often possible only if the ...