Document Type


Publication Date





This introductory chapter provides an overview of the growth of environmental law and the decision making structures that governments have developed to adopt, administer, and enforce it. It traces the manner in which cooperative federalism and public participation have affected decision making structures in environmental law, primarily in the United States. It summarizes key challenges that policymakers continue to face in designing environmental laws, including choices on the allocation of authority among different levels of government, the appropriate mix of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to use in environmental protection initiatives, efforts to accommodate environmental protection and economic growth objectives, techniques to spur useful government action in the face of political stalemates, balancing the benefits of public participation with the potential for participatory procedures to slow or derail the implementation of environmental laws, and determining the role of judicial review. The chapter concludes with a road map of the all of the other chapters in the book.

GW Paper Series

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2016-55; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-55

Included in

Law Commons