The Cost of Federalism: Ecology, Community, and the Pragmatism of Land Use
The Law and Policy of Environmental Federalism: A Comparative Analysis, Kalyani Robbins & Erin Ryan, eds. (Edward Elgar, 2015)
26 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2016 Last revised: 27 Oct 2016
Date Written: November 24, 2014
If there is a victim of federalism, it is undoubtedly the community. Localities, in contrast to the federal government, have a very real stake in the quality of ecosystem functionality, because localities rely on ecosystem services as the beneficiaries of those services. When local governments regulate land uses to prevent degradation of important local ecosystems, they regulate from a purposes that non-local governments simply do not have. This book chapter examines the exercise of federal control over environmental issues and its potential assault on the merits of community. The chapter explores whether imposed homogeneity or sameness at the federal level defeats the benefits of self-identifying communities through land use controls and, if so, whether that is a trade-off we are willing to accept. Our objective is to help clarify the impact of federal regulation on local land use control and to more completely articulate how federal regulation detaches a community from its local ecosystem.
Keywords: ecosystems, ecosystem services, local government, land use, communities, federalism, environment, natural resources, decentralization
JEL Classification: K32, Q57, R52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation