The Law and Policy of Environmental Federalism
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The Law and Policy of Environmental Federalism

A Comparative Analysis

Edited by Kalyani Robbins

This book provides a comparative analysis of the various approaches to environmental federalism and a consideration of what each system might learn from the others. Each chapter focuses on a different regime, and together they offer a broad overview of the field as well as original theory and policy analysis that is sure to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of environmental federalism as well as our policy-making future.
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Chapter 5: Coordinating the overlapping regulation of biodiversity and ecosystem management

Kalyani Robbins


States have traditionally played a substantial role in managing wildlife, but play a very small role in implementing the Endangered Species Act, and an even smaller role with other federal wildlife statutes. The state and federal programs operate largely independently of one another, only minimally taking each other into account in making policy choices. This disconnect between the federal government and states results in both inefficiencies and potentially harmful incentives. While states and local governments are best positioned to manage local habitat, federal oversight is needed to ensure that our widely shared benefits (biodiversity) are not lost to a tragedy of the commons problem, so each has something valuable to bring to the table, but perhaps do not need to function as distinctly as they do. As climate change worsens, and wildlife migrates or needs to be assisted with relocation, on-the-ground federal involvement will likely become even more necessary. While it may be possible to develop work-arounds for federal wildlife laws, there may be conflicts with state regulation of endangered species. Cutting-edge active management techniques designed to assist species adaptation to climate change will require multi-jurisdictional collaboration among land managers. This chapter will explore the existing federalism structure, which developed somewhat unintentionally and at random. Then, taking into account the changing needs of species, especially the more climate-sensitive species, it will draw attention to aspects of the current system that are not likely to carry well into the future.

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