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Volume 17, Issue 10 — October 1987


Towards a National Coastal Policy

Editors' Summary: The coastal areas of this country provide more than just a place to spend a vacation. They have always supported a substantial proportion of the country's population, are the source and support of much of its fishing industry, and provide the potential for substantial energy resources. But the conflicts associated with increasing population growth and economic prosperity have seriously degraded coastal areas in recent years. In 1972 Congress enacted the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) in an attempt to prevent further deterioration of the coasts. However, numerous other federal statutes also directly affect coastal areas. These statutes create conflicting directives and ensure a complex regulatory framework that can be difficult to coordinate. This Comment describes the many federal statutes, the CZMA among them, that in one way or another affect activities along the coasts. It explains how the current framework contributes to fragmented, unclear policies and analyzes how pollution control strategies could be better integrated into land use management schemes in the coastal zone.


ECRA: New Jersey's Cleanup Statute

by Harriet Jane Olson

Editors' Summary: New Jersey's Environmental Cleanup Responsibility Act (ECRA) is probably the leading state effort to address hazardous waste cleanup without direct expenditure of government funds. ECRA attempts to harness the business incentives involved in the sale or transfer of real property to clean the property as it changes hands. This Dialogue outlines ECRA's provisions and analyzes its implementation by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The author, an experienced ECRA practitioner in the New Jersey private bar, praises ECRA's goals but offers specific criticisms about both its statutory structure and its regulatory implementation. The Dialogue compares ECRA to other states' statutes apparently patterned at least in part on the New Jersey experience, and reviews proposed ECRA reforms in New Jersey.

A New Direction for Environmental Policy: Hazardous Waste Prevention, Not Disposal

by Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Editors' Summary: One of the most serious tasks Americans face in the near future is electing a President to lead the nation into the 1990s. Environmental law and policy are heavily influenced by the decisions made by elected officials and their senior appointees, and environmental issues should command close attention as voters and opinion leaders approach the 1988 election.

The Environmental Law Reporter has invited several leading presidential candidates to present their views on environmental law and policy. This month, Joseph Biden emphasizes the need to focus on waste minimization and prevention, rather than the "end-of-pipe" focus on waste disposal. The most cost-effective way to deal with waste, he points out, is often never to create it in the first place. Moreover, because of upcoming corporate decisions on new pollution control equipment, a failure to implement waste reduction measures soon may mean lost opportunities for many years to come. Mr. Biden criticizes the shortcomings of current law on hazardous waste minimization, and outlines a specific program that he proposes as the centerpiece of federal efforts to encourage waste reduction.