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This essay explores the legislative assaults currently faced by environmental law, as the powerful market forces that gained at least temporary congressional ascendancy in Novemeber 1994 attempt to roll back legal doctrines and structures evolved in thirty years of bipartisan development. The "counter revolutionary" tumult of the 104th Congress reflects a basic confrontation - between the powerful human nature dynamics of market forces and society's need for enforceable civic values that transcend short-term profit expediencies. Environmental law, reflecting a paradigm shift in how we perceive the world, has emerged over the past three decades as one of the primary realms in which society attempts to insert short and long-term public civic values into practical economic affairs. This role inevitably makes environmental law a political battlefield. A survey of some of the current battles, framed in that social context, allows some useful long-term observations.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
7 Sep 2022
2.53 MB



  • Subject
    • Courts

    • Economics

    • Environmental Law

    • Law and Economics

    • Law and Society

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review

  • Volume
    • 23

  • Pagination
    • 733-80

  • Date submitted

    7 September 2022

  • Keywords