Chasing the Wind: Regulating Air Pollution in the Common Law State

Morag-Levine, Noga

Published by Princeton University Press
ISBN 10: 0691094810 / ISBN 13: 9780691094816
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The Federal Clean Air Act of 1970 is widely seen as a revolutionary legal response to the failures of the earlier common law regime, which had governed air pollution in the United States for more than a century. Noga Morag-Levine challenges this view, highlighting striking continuities between the assumptions governing current air pollution regulation in the United States and the principles that had guided the earlier nuisance regime. Most importantly, this continuity is evident in the centrality of risk-based standards within contemporary American air pollution regulatory policy. Under the European approach, by contrast, the feasibility-based technology standard is the regulatory instrument of choice.


Through historical analysis of the evolution of Anglo-American air pollution law and contemporary case studies of localized pollution disputes, Chasing the Wind argues for an overhaul in U.S. air pollution policy. This reform, following the European model, would forgo the unrealizable promise of complete, perfectly tailored protection--a hallmark of both nuisance law and the Clean Air Act--in favor of incremental, across-the-board pollution reductions. The author argues that prevailing critiques of technology standards as inefficient and undemocratic instruments of "command and control" fit with a longstanding pattern of American suspicion of civil law modeled interventions. This distrust, she concludes, has impeded the development of environmental regulation that would be less adversarial in process and more equitable in outcome.


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"No other book so thoroughly weaves together themes in common-law nuisance, federal pollution legislation, local pollution control, and even constitutional law. Morag-Levine manages to tell a story about how all of these various strands fit together that is at once persuasive and interesting, not to mention carefully documented and painstakingly argued. I learned a great deal reading this book, and I will think differently about the field of air pollution control as a consequence."--Lisa Heinzerling, Georgetown University


"An exceptionally thoughtful study of air pollution regulation, Chasing the Wind provides a magisterial account of the tensions embedded within American environmental law and their historical roots. Noga Morag Levine shows us that the present state of environmental regulation is much more a creature of the distant, common law past than has generally been acknowledged. This is both a surprising and important argument."--Cary Coglianese, Harvard University


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Title: Chasing the Wind: Regulating Air Pollution ...
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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