'More Good than Harm': A First Principle for Environmental Agencies and Reviewing Courts
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Gary E. Marchant, JD, PhD
Arizona State University - College of Law
Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 20, p. 379, 1993
Environmental protection necessarily requires choices. While expected to make reasonable choices, environmental agencies often bow to internal incentives and external pressures to do just the opposite. Courts have rarely reversed explicitly on the grounds that an agency has adopted an unreasonable result. Simply by interpreting the Administrative Procedure Act to require that agency actions do more good than harm, courts could spark a chain reaction that would improve agency performance, foster a more explicit and accountable balancing of interests in the legislative process, and lay the foundation for a more effective hard look executive oversight. Eventually, these trends would, in turn, diminish the need for intrusive judicial scrutiny. The public would benefit by achieving more environmental protection at less cost, thereby freeing resources to address other pressing social problems.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 62
Keywords: Environmental Law, Administrative Procedure Act,
Date posted: June 25, 2009
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