Breaking the Logjam
Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration is an ambitious and comprehensive project to reform outmoded environmental laws, led by professors Richard Stewart and Katrina Wyman and New York Law School's David Schoenbrod. The project recently issued a report for Washington policymakers synthesizing the reform proposals and concepts of more than 40 environmental law professors and other experts from around the country and across the ideological spectrum who participated in the project. A book version will be published by Yale University Press next spring.
At a major conference held at NYU Law in March 2008, the project experts presented proposals for statutory and institutional changes to modernize environmental laws to meet new challenges such as climate change, as well as old problems that have not been successfully addressed, including non-point pollution, overgrazing on public lands, disposal of nuclear waste, and depletion of ocean fishing stocks. Several hundred people attended and discussed the proposals. Articles prepared by the project experts on their proposals, along with student notes, were published in a special volume of the NYU Environmental Law Journal, available here.
Breaking the Logjam was launched in 2006 in recognition of the need to overhaul many of the decades-old environmental statutes and strategies through innovative approaches that could break longstanding deadlocks in Congress over environmental legislation. The project has generated specific recommendations on dozens of environmental and natural resource law issues, drawing on four basic principles: greater use of market-based, information-based and other, more flexible regulatory tools; a better division of regulatory roles between the federal and state governments; openness about trade-offs; and the need to address cross-cutting environmental problems.
Many of the core principles and specific proposals from this project tie directly into the climate legislation and associated reform of the Clean Air Act heading toward the Senate. The team issued a special report with recommendations for integrating climate regulation and regulation of conventional air pollutants, thereby improving both systems. Stewart and Schoenbrod have conducted briefings and workshops with Congress and the administration as well as environmental, industry, and other groups on these and other project recommendations.
More information on this project can be found at www.breakingthelogjam.org.