Toward a New Horizontal Federalism: Interstate Water Management in the Great Lakes Region

52 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2006

See all articles by Noah D. Hall

Noah D. Hall

Wayne State University Law School


This article presents a new model for environmental policy, called cooperative horizontal federalism. The cooperative horizontal federalism approach utilizes a constitutional mechanism for states to bind themselves to common substantive and procedural environmental protection standards, implemented individually with regional resources and enforcement. Here, the concept of cooperative horizontal federalism model is illustrated through the recently proposed Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Under this proposed compact, the eight Great Lakes states would cooperatively manage the world's largest freshwater resource under common minimum standards, which are then incorporated into state law and implemented individually. This cooperative horizontal federalism approach avoids the "race to the bottom" that often undermines individual state efforts, but still allows states the flexibility to craft environmental policies best suited to their specific needs and preferences.

Keywords: federalism, water, great lakes, compact

Suggested Citation

Hall, Noah D., Toward a New Horizontal Federalism: Interstate Water Management in the Great Lakes Region. University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 77, pp. 405-456, 2006, Available at SSRN:

Noah D. Hall (Contact Author)

Wayne State University Law School ( email )

471 Palmer
Detroit, MI 48202
United States

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