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 9: Cooperative federalism and adaptation

Alice Kaswan


Climate change impacts will be felt throughout the physical world with pervasive environmental, economic and social consequences at the local, state and federal level. In this chapter, I review their multiscalar nature and then elaborate the federalism values that shape governance choices, including pragmatic effectiveness, democratic legitimacy, and individual liberty and prevention of tyranny. I then argue that cooperative federalism regimes can best bridge the multiscalar nature of adaptation challenges and satisfy key federalism values. Although no one model can govern adaptation across the wide array of affected legal regimes, I identify generic types of federal requirements and federal support functions that could guide and facilitate state and local efforts. Lastly, I provide several examples of existing programs that can and do incorporate adaptation, such as coastal planning and disaster management, and identify contexts, such as land use and water policy, in which existing reliance on state and local initiative would benefit from a greater federal role.

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