The passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969 signaled a new era for American law, when both proponents and opponents of strict safeguards on the environment looked more and more to the courts to settle their disputes. Lettie M. Wenner examines the role of the federal judiciary in implementing environmental laws in the ten years after the passage of the NEPA. Her major focus is on the overall policy patterns that emerged from court decisions on environmental issues during this period, demonstrating the function of the courts as a public policy maker. The author concludes that, in general, the federal courts have proven to be more environmentally oriented when they have faced specific enforcement demands in the context of pollution control laws than when they have been asked to make broad policy decisions based on discretionary laws.
Author: Lettie McSpadden Wenner
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