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Mercer University School of Law

2022

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Environmental Law

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Whither The Lofty Goals Of The Environmental Laws?: Can Statutory Directives Restore Purposivism When We Are All Textualists Now?, Stephen M. Johnson Jan 2022

Whither The Lofty Goals Of The Environmental Laws?: Can Statutory Directives Restore Purposivism When We Are All Textualists Now?, Stephen M. Johnson

Articles

Congress set ambitious goals to protect public health and the environment when it enacted the federal environmental laws through bipartisan efforts in the 1970s. For many years, the federal courts interpreted the environmental laws to carry out those enacted purposes. Over time, however, courts greatly reduced their focus on the environmental and public health purposes of the environmental laws when interpreting those statutes due to the rise in textualism, the declining influence of the Chevron doctrine, and the increasing willingness of courts to defer to agency underenforcement of statutory responsibilities across all regulatory statutes.

In 2020, the Environmental Protection Network, …