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Kentucky Law Journal

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environmental targets, global impacts, state enforcement, command and control


Environmental Law | Land Use Law | Law


This Article begins with a brief overview of the state of the environment and the lessons learned from the early development of the command and control system. It then explores recent reform proposals and the scholarship on the democratic impact of means-based approaches. The Article next examines the new model that is emerging in the Netherlands and other countries, and identifies the critical feature of the new model: the development of context for environmental decisionmaking at each of the three levels discussed above. The Article concludes by analyzing the implications of this Framework Approach for the environmental debate and for environmental law reform in the United States.

Although the Framework Approach would be difficult to implement in the United States, its core principles may reveal many of the underlying problems both with the environmental reform debate and with environmental law reform in the United States. Ironically, although the ends-based concepts adopted abroad stem from a European tradition of governmental involvement in social planning that is not favored in the United States, the identification of ends in the Framework Approach may be a prerequisite for reducing the intrusiveness and costs of the command and control system while improving environmental protection. The Framework Approach discussed in this paper is unquestionably utopian. As one author noted in a recent article, however, environmental law reform has suffered from an absence of scholarship that explores "'relevant utopias." I invite the reader to suspend disbelief on the practical feasibility of the Framework Approach long enough to assess whether its underlying concepts reveal a new perspective on the environmental law reform debate and a new set of questions to be answered about environmental law reform



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