Creating the Law of Environmentally Sustainable Economic Development
John C. Dernbach
Widener University - School of Law
February 28, 2011
Pace Environmental Law (PELR) Review, Vol. 28, No. 3, Spring 2011
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-10
This article argues that a key to sustainability is redirecting the law of economic development. From a historical perspective, sustainable development is an effort to integrate environmental protection and restoration with development. As a result, it is not possible to fully understand sustainable development unless we understand what development means. While that term is reasonably well understood at the international level, our closest analogue in the United States is not development in general but rather economic development.
A great many recently enacted laws that move the United States toward sustainability can be understood as economic development laws. These laws:
--require an increase in more sustainable activity,
--create a legal structure in which more sustainable activity can flourish,
--remove legal impediments to sustainability,
--apply traditional economic development laws to more sustainable activities,
--overcome market barriers to more sustainable activities,
--foster economic development in ways that also have job creation and environmental benefits, and
--support the development of green infrastructure.
By understanding these laws and their common characteristics, we may better understand how to move more rapidly and effectively toward sustainability.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: sustainable development, sustainability, economic development, development, environmental law, renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable communities, Cash for Clunkers, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
JEL Classification: K32, Q01, Q20, Q25, Q28, Q30, Q38, Q48, Q54Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 22, 2011 ; Last revised: June 27, 2011
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