Alternative Energy and the Energy-Environment Disconnect

35 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2010

See all articles by Lincoln L. Davies

Lincoln L. Davies

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: April 10, 2010


It is one of the most important - and unspoken - paradoxes of the modern American regulatory state: Energy and the environment, though intertwined in life, are disconnected in law. This has important implications, not the least of which is that the two fields tend to undermine each other. For serious students of energy, this should come as no surprise. The energy-environmental law disconnect is rooted in the fields' histories. Nevertheless, if society is to become more sustainable, the disconnect must be mended. Energy law and environmental law must merge. This article traces the historical disconnect between energy law and environmental law, from an energy perspective. It then explains, conceptually, how that disconnect manifests in energy today. Finally, the article concludes by identifying the problems that the disconnect creates for alternative energy development and, consequently, suggests some ways in which energy and environmental law might be better coordinated going forward.

Keywords: Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy, Energy Law, Energy Policy, Energy Regulation, Public Utilities, Environmental Law, Sustainable Development, Sustainability

JEL Classification: K10, K20, K23, K32, N70, N72, Q40, Q42

Suggested Citation

Davies, Lincoln L., Alternative Energy and the Energy-Environment Disconnect (April 10, 2010). Idaho Law Review, Vol. 46, pp. 473-507, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Lincoln L. Davies (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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