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Protecting Human Health and Stewarding the Environment: An Essay Exploring Values in U.S. Environmental Protection Law

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 2014

Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 8-14

13 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2014  

Tracy Bach

Vermont Law School

Date Written: April 10, 2014

Abstract

In this short essay, I advocate for the continued use of human health-based standards to measure environmental pollution limits. Doing so presents several advantages. First, it builds on environmental public health research that is just now hitting its stride, as the length and depth of data sets permit more certain conclusions that in turn support evidence-based policymaking. Second, it provides a public health lens through which individual citizens may assess the value of their ethical tradeoffs: as this body of research is translated from public health analysis to individual medical practice, patients cum voters and consumers receive new information that they may act on. Finally, it provides a pragmatic way to ensure political support for environmental protection laws, as voters perceive environmental protection as part of our health and safety laws and are thereby more motivated to support them. In this way, using humans as the proverbial canaries in coal mines, we seek to ensure human health and the well-being of the larger ecosystem in which it exists.

Keywords: environmental public health law, environmental law, public health law, environmental ethics

JEL Classification: I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Bach, Tracy, Protecting Human Health and Stewarding the Environment: An Essay Exploring Values in U.S. Environmental Protection Law (April 10, 2014). Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 2014; Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 8-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2423495

Tracy Bach (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

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