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The Environment and the Contract

July 1995

Citation: 25 ELR 10350

Issue: 7

Author: John Pendergrass, Paul Locke, and James McElfish

The 104th Congress opened with great attention to the Republican "Contract With America" (the Contract), which the House leadership promised would pass the House of Representatives within the first 100 days. The Contract was first fleshed-out on January 4, 1995, when 10 bills were introduced.1 After a flurry of legislative activity, rushed hearings, and abbreviated floor debate, the House fulfilled its promise to act on all 10 bills, finishing more than one week ahead of schedule.2

This Dialogue focuses on four parts of the Contract that are particularly relevant to environmental law and policy. All four were addressed by the Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act, introduced as H.R. 9.3 They are: (1) limitations on congressional imposition of "unfunded mandates" on states and local governments;4 (2) statutory requirements for risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis; (3) "regulatory reform"; and (4) federal payments to property owners affected by regulation. For each of these four parts, the Dialogue describes the bill's original provisions, discusses the legislation's development in the House, and summarizes related developments in the Senate and executive branch.5

John Pendergrass, Paul Locke, and James McElfish are senior attorneys with the Environmental Law Institute. The authors thank Meghan Clancy-Hepburn for her research assistance. The authors wish to thank the W. Alton Jones Foundation and the George Gund Foundation for supporting, in part, the work that underlies this Dialogue.

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