Environmental Law: The Role of Congress in Environmental Law

Posted: 2 Nov 2016

See all articles by Eric R. Claeys

Eric R. Claeys

George Mason University

David Schoenbrod

New York Law School

Nicholas A. Robinson

Pace University - School of Law

Date Written: October 28, 2016


This article publishes the remarks of a panel on the Role of Congress in Environmental Law, hosted at the National Convention of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, Washington, D.C., November 14, 2015. Professor Schoenbrod argued that, in environmental law and policy, Congress enacts statutory rights but then improperly delegates to the Environmental Protection Agency responsibility for the burdens. Professor Robinson gave a survey of Congress’s attitudes toward environmental policy from 1818 to the present. Mr. Leggett argued that the Obama administration has stopped Congress from setting policies protecting America’s air, water, and land. Professor Claeys recounted an example of a narrow piece of legislation in which Congress did succeed in legislating on environmental policy — the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 preventing the Safe Water Drinking Act from being interpreted to apply to hydraulic fracturing — and explored whether the conditions that made it possible to enact those provisions could be replicated more generally.

Keywords: Administrative Law, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Coal, EPA, Federalism, Fracking, Natural Gas, Natural Resources, Oil, Regulation, REINS, Shale

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Claeys, Eric R. and Schoenbrod, David and Robinson, Nicholas A., Environmental Law: The Role of Congress in Environmental Law (October 28, 2016). Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2860696

Eric R. Claeys (Contact Author)

George Mason University ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Room 420
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
(703) 993-8247 (Phone)
(703) 993-8202 (Fax)

David Schoenbrod

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States
212-431-2339 (Phone)
212-431-9205 (Fax)

Nicholas A. Robinson

Pace University - School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

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