Washington Law Review


Energy-Environment Policy Alignments

December 21, 2015 | 90 Wash. L. Rev. 1517

Abstract: Energy law focuses on making energy widely available at reasonable cost, and environmental law focuses on preventing pollution. As a result of these differences in their respective orientations, the two fields often work incoherently and even in conflict. Historically, federal energy law and environmental law have attempted to manage their interrelationships by imposing negative constraints on each other: Energy policies of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must comply with requirements set forth in environmental statutes, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) statutes contain energy-related requirements and exemptions. More recently, however, FERC and EPA have begun developing policies that create beneficial alignments between their respective fields. This Article argues that these policy alignments, which emphasize opportunities for positive synergy rather than negative constraints, offer a promising new direction for the energy-environment relationship. More broadly, policy alignments provide a potentially useful model for managing relationships among other overlapping fields as well.

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