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Environmental Law From the Inside: Local Perspective, Local Potential

December 2017

Citation: 47 ELR 11048

Issue: 12

Author: Keith Hirokawa

Perception and experience are important to understanding the relevance and effectiveness of how we relate to and regulate our natural surroundings. This Article uses the term “insider” environmental law to distinguish local environmental governance capacity and suggests that local needs should serve more of a driving role in the formulation of environmental law and policy. It first introduces the insider environmental perspective by observing the ways that the environment is experienced, which facilitates an understanding of why ecosystems are regulated differently by different levels of government. Second, it distinguishes the value of insider environmental law from the more traditional understanding of local ecosystem governance as local protectionism. Third, it explores the concept of ecosystem services to show how local perspective can be motivated by an open and honest consideration of the costs of environmental governance. Insider environmental law is concerned with identifying an objective description of environmental quality that is consistent with a real and felt sense of place.

Keith Hirokawa is Professor of Law at Albany Law School. He received an LL.M. from Lewis and Clark School of Law in 2001, a J.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1998, and an M.A. from the University of Connecticut in 2003.

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