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Chapter%2021 - Chapter 21 Environmental Law David Baumer...

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09/26/11 Chapter 21: Environmental Law David Baumer, 2003
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09/26/11 Federal Environmental Law Fed. environmental law began in 1970 as a result of three failures Market failure --producers and consumers did not bear the costs they imposed on society by their pollution Common law nuisance suits were limited No way to impose pollution control technology State and local governments could not stop pollution that occurred in one state but affected another state
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09/26/11 Pollution and the Common Law Common law nuisance suits Public nuisance occurs when there is an unreasonable interference with a right held in common by the public Private nuisance is a substantial and unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of land of another The harm visited upon the pl. cannot simply be harm that is incurred by all members of the public
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09/26/11 Common Law Suits Often the remedies were crude and blunt In general the courts simply awarded monetary damages to pls. The courts did not have the power to require antipollution control technology The courts had to weigh the benefits provided by the polluter versus the costs of the pollution Generally the courts had the option to shut down the polluter or fine the polluter or dismiss the suit The burden was on the victim to show that there was a less polluting method of production
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09/26/11 Trespass and Pollution When a polluter pollutes he trespasses onto the land of another The plaintiff must show there is a physical invasion of her rights as a landowner At common law, many victims would sue for negligence for failing to use reasonable care in handling pollutants, and Strict liability has been imposed upon those who produce, emit or store hazardous waste
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09/26/11 Water Rights and Pollution In the east landowners adjacent to rivers and lakes have riparian water rights These rights are violated if an upstream user significantly deteriorates the quality of the water for downstream landowners and users such as recreational establishments and fishermen Dissatisfaction with the common law as a remedy led to federal regulation Often the pollution occurred in one state and the effects were felt in another state
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09/26/11 National Environmental Policy Act, 1969 Every major federal action that affects the environment requires and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) The EIS assesses the short and long run adverse environmental consequences of the proposed federal action Must describe the affected environment Must discuss possible alternative actions that could accomplish the same goals Must review possible irreversible effects
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09/26/11 Federal Environmental Protection (1970) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970 In addition there are state EPAs that assist in efforts to control pollution Clean Air Act (CAA) was passed in 1970 Major amendments in 1977 and 1990 The CAA requires EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQSs)
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