Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Keynote Address

January 1992

Citation: 22 ELR 10010

Issue: 1

Author: E. Donald Elliott

How to improve the federal/state "partnership" in the environmental area is a difficult subject. Despite my best attempts to devise simple solutions with resolving power, the situation is not amenable to easy fixes.

A consensus is developing that the concept of a "partnership" in the federal/state relationship on the environment is probably misleading, and in fact, this way of thinking about the relationship may even contribute to the problem. The relationship is not one among equal "partners." Rather, Congress has clearly established different roles for EPA and the states. Until we have a more realistic view of the relationship, we will not begin to improve its nature. So let us think of it not as a partnership, but rather as a working joint venture relationship. Some have suggested that we should think of the relationship in terms of client/contractor or principal/agent.

Assistant Administrator and General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Professor of Law, Yale Law School (on leave of absence).

The views expressed are those of the author personally and not necessarily those of the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. government or any other organization or group. The author wishes to express his appreciation to Judith Gleason, EPA's Associate Administrator for State and Regional Affairs at the time of this speech, and her staff for their able assistance. Of course, responsibility for the errors that remain is the author's.

Download Article >>>