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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Revolution: The Environmental Record of the 104th Congress

January 1997

Citation: ELR 10019

Author: James E. Satterfield

Although the 104th Congress did not begin officially until January 4, 1995, its significance was apparent as soon as the polls closed on November 8, 1994. When the votes were tallied, Republicans had acquired majorities in both the Senate and the House for the first time in 40 years. And they were quick to proclaim the beginning of a revolution in congressional lawmaking.

This Comment analyzes the consequences of this "revolution" and its effects on environmental legislation. The Comment begins with an overview of the new dynamics created when Republicans assumed the role of majority party in Congress and explores the immediate effect this change had on congressional business. It then examines the principal environmental bills that the 104th Congress considered, why certain bills succeeded, and why others failed. Finally, it considers the results of the November 1996 congressional and presidential elections and highlights the developments that bear watching during the 105th Congress.

Mr. Satterfield is Senior Associate Editor of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter. After receiving a J.D. from Columbia University in 1983, he practiced corporate law in New York City for seven years. The views expressed in this Comment are not necessarily shared by the Environmental Law Institute.

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