Environmental Protection Agency

The Trump Administration's Uncooperative Environmental Federalism

The EPA has talked the talk of cooperative federalism, but it's not yet fully walking the walk.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The Trump Administration has spoken quite a bit about the need to curtail federal environmental regulation and facilitate greater state leadership in environmental policy. Yet while the Environmental Protection Agency has worked aggressively to scale back many environmental regulations, particularly those adopted by the Obama Administration, it has not done much to facilitate greater state leadership or to give states more flexibility to adopt locally appropriate environmental policies—or so I argued in a presentation I made at the Hastings Law Journal symposium, "Revolution or Evolution: Administrative Law in the Age of Trump," last month at the UC Hastings College of Law.

I've turned my presentation into a short paper, "Uncooperative Environmental Federalism 2.0," and it's now available on SSRN. Here's the abstract:

Has the Trump Administration made good on its pledges to reinvigorate cooperative federalism and constrain environmental regulatory overreach by the federal government? Perhaps less than one would think. This paper, prepared for the Hastings Law Journal symposium, "Revolution of Evolution? Administrative Law in the Age of Trump," provides a critical assessment of the Trump Administration's approach to environmental federalism. Despite the Administration's embrace of "cooperative federalism" rhetoric, environmental policy reforms have not consistently embodied a principled approach to environmental federalism in which the state and federal governments are each encouraged to focus resources on areas of comparative advantage.

This paper will be published in the Hastings Law Journal symposium issue. As this is still a draft, comments are welcome.