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University of Michigan Law School

2012

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Is A Substantive, Non-Positivist United States Environmental Law Possible?, Dan Tarlock Jan 2012

Is A Substantive, Non-Positivist United States Environmental Law Possible?, Dan Tarlock

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

U.S. environmental law is almost exclusively positive and procedural. The foundation is the pollution control and biodiversity conservation statutes enacted primarily between 1969–1980 and judicial decisions interpreting them. This law has created detailed processes for making decisions but has produced few substantive constraints on private and public decisions which impair the environment. Several substantive candidates have been proposed, such as the common law, a constitutional right to a healthy environment, the public trust, and the extension of rights to fauna and flora. However, these candidates have not produced the hoped for substantive law. Many argue that a substantive ...