It has long been understood that broad congressional delegations of rulemaking authority have empowered administrative agencies to play a robust role in setting policy priorities for many subjects, including the environment. This phenomenon is even more evident when realizing that most of the major environmental laws were passed several decades ago and have seen little updating since. Has Congress purposefully, or because of its inattention to passing or amending environmental laws, been ceding its policy-setting authority to others? 

On November 18, 2017, the Federalist Society Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group will host a panel titled Environmental Law without Congress: Are Alternatives to Legislation Eclipsing the Congressional Role? The panel will discuss examples where, and explain why, administrative and other alternatives to legislation have become primary drivers in setting environmental policy. Panelists include the following experts on environmental law and its intersection with the administrative state:

  • Prof. Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Prof. Michael P. Vandenbergh, David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law Director, Climate Change Research Network Co-director, Energy, Environment and Land Use Program, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Prof. Donald J. Kochan, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, Chapman University School of Law
  • Prof. Robert V. Percival, Professor of Law and Director, Environmental Law Program, University of Maryland School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Amul Thapar, Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

Topics discussed will include the causes and consequences of legislative gridlock on environmental issues, with case studies from a variety of environmental statutes; the private governance response to environmental problems, including climate change, and how private initiatives can bypass governmental inaction; whether the Trump Administration can accomplish its deregulatory environmental agenda administratively, given the highly prescriptive nature of current federal environmental statutes and the ability to enforce these statutes through citizen suits; and whether part of the reason we see environmental policy being made without Congress is because Congress might have strategic reasons for allowing that power shift to occur, with case studies examining specific examples where Congress has chosen to permit, or even invite, invasions into the sphere of authority that the Framers intended it guard.

The panel will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 11:00 – 12:30 PM in the East Room of The Mayflower Hotel as part of the Federalist Society’s 2017 National Lawyers Convention. The topic of this year’s convention is: Administrative Agencies and the Regulatory State.

Registration is required to attend the panel. Click here for more information about the conference including the schedule, registration, and lodging information. Online registration ends Monday, November 13.