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Article by Judge Oakes in This Issue: "Developments in Environmental Law"

April 1973

Citation: ELR 10047

This month's issue of ELR contains an article by Judge James L. Oakes of the Second Circuit (3 ELR 50001). The article, Developments in Environmental Law, is based upon the Judge's introductory address at Environmental Law II, the third annual conference on environmental law sponsored by the American Law Institute and the Smithsonian Institution. This year, the Environmental Law Institute cooperated with the sponsoring institutions in conducting the conference.

Judge Oakes' opinions in several environmental lawsuits will be remembered for their depth of concern that environmental factors were not receiving full consideration in federal agency decisionmaking. His dissent in Scenic Hudson II,1 the latest decision in the precedent-setting Storm King litigation, laid bare what he viewed as major inadequacies in the Federal Power Commission's review of possible environmental effects caused by construction of the pumped storage power project at issue in the case. His opinion in Conservation Society of Southern Vermont v. Volpe,2 in which he sat as a federal district judge, answered affirmatively his own question, "Will highway development be held up for one little hill and one beaver pond?" where the requirements of federal law had not been fully satisfied. Controversies such as those in Scenic Hudson II and Conservation Society of Southern Vermont have given Judge Oakes a special opportunity to observe and participate in the evolution of environmental law. We are treated in his article, not only to his insightful summary of current trends, but to his prognosis—and even sometimes his prescriptions—for the future of the field.

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