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Environment law


Contrary to the bleakest predictions offered by environmental fatalists during the latter half of the 1900s, humanity and much of the plant and animal kingdom survived New Year's Eve 1999. Similarly, contrary to the dire warnings of industrial organizations and lobbyists that overburdening environmental regulations would spell the end of profitable, American capitalism, the year 2000 dawned in the United States with the world's most extensive array of anti-pollution and pro-conservation measures regulating the globe's most impressive economic engines. New times demand new paradigms; it is much more than a calendar change that occasions a reconsideration of the status and meaning of environmental law. The deindustrialization that typified the 1980s has yielded to the high-tech revolution of the 1990s. Indeed, the word “industry” itself--which for two centuries raised in the mind images of soot, grime, excessive noise, and harmful vibrations--today has a connotation that is much cleaner and friendlier to human and nonhuman nature. Moreover, the command-and-control provisions of American environmental law have yielded the battlefield to kinder and gentler, incentive-based regulation. New paradigms demand new slogans, particularly in a polity driven and shaped by sound bites. Your humble author offers eight aphorisms for the new millennium-- eight mottoes (along with short explanations) designed for twenty-first century contestants from all sides to keep in mind as we continue the evolutionary process of shaping, responding to, and reshaping American environmental law.