The Federalism Project

American Enterprise Institute

The Federalism Project
Environmental Policy

Environmental Federalism? State Activism on Cleaning the Air

May 2003 Federalism Project Panel

For most of the environmental era, business groups (seconded by many economists) criticized environmental regulation as overly centralized and rigid. Environmental advocates, for their part, insisted on tough national regulation as the only means of remedying pollution that crosses state boundaries and of preventing a "race to the bottom" among the states. In recent years, however, states have come to "think globally" and "act locally." Even on issues that plainly transcend state and even national boundaries, such as air pollution and global warming, many states have taken measures far in excess of federal requirements. This marked shift has forced scholars, business groups, and environmentalists to reexamine their positions and strategies.

A Federalism Project panel recently reviewed state activities on such issues as global warming, power plant permitting, and car emission standards. Panelists discussed the desirable role and scope of national, state, and local regulation and the need, if any, for legal and regulatory reforms.

Featured speakers:

Robert Gasaway, Kirkland & Ellis

Michael Greve, Federalism Project

Marlo Lewis, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Barry Rabe, University of Michigan

Christopher Schroeder, Duke Law School

bios available here

transcript here