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Remedying Our Fragmented Governmental Structures to Deal With Our Nation-on-Edge Problems

March 2008

Citation: 38 ELR 10187

Issue: 3

Author: Jeffrey G. Miller

Editors' Summary: The argument against crafting federal regulations for problems stemming from development in disaster-prone areas (nation-on-edge problems) assumes that these types of problems are essentially local problems requiring unique local solutions. In this Article, Jeffrey G. Miller challenges this assumption, reasoning that a flexible framework of federal regulations would indeed be effective at remedying these problems. He suggests that such a framework could be modeled after the Clean Water Act's (CWA's) point source pollution control regime. A permitting system similar to that set out in the CWA would promote best management practices while still allowing local entities the freedom to determine which particular practices are most effective for them. He recommends that we reexamine our conception of federalism before abandoning hope of federal solutions to nation-on-edge problems.

Jeffrey G. Miller is a Professor of Law and vice dean of Academic Affairs at Pace Law School. [Editors' Note: This Article appears in the book Losing Ground: A Nation on Edge, edited by John R. Nolon & Daniel B. Rodriguez, published in 2007 by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). The book can be ordered by either calling 800-433-5120 or logging on to the ELI website at http://www.eli.org.]

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