Assn. 2 Environmental Policy & Procedures due: The term takings in relation to environmental law
Takings in relation to environmental law can be defined as an act of the government acquiring property and compensating the previous owner justly. This is drawn from the fifth amendment of the United States constitution, which says “Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation”. The government however has been seen to infringe on property owners rights by acquiring their land without any form of compensation. Such property may be used in the construction of roads or a military base (Malone, 2007).
Example of a legally resolved takings case
In the case of Dolan v. city of Tigard, 512 US.374 (1994) the court ruled that development permits must be roughly proportional to the effects the land in question will have to the community. In this case, the applicant sought to replace her hardware store with a larger facility and pave a 39 paving store. She was granted her wish but with conditions to it. The court however ruled in her favor stating that Dolan could not be forced to give up her land without just compensation. The land disputed formed part of wetlands that Tigard wanted to improve but had unfair conditions (Durant et al, 2004).
Effectiveness of NEPA
The national environmental policy act is a statute that requires all governments to integrate policy values into decision-making processes considering impacts of their proposed actions. (NEPA Homepage)This institution forces the state agencies to put in consideration the environmental factors in their decision making process but also empowers them to make informed decisions on the same. This was not in existence before (Malone, 2007).The environmental impact assessment is the heart of the implementation of the act. NEPA addresses the larger environmental problem, and has made a significant effort in addressing environmental issues. Its regulations have caused attitude and behavioral change thus leading to better agency decisions.
NEPA action forcing strategies to meet their goals have raised concerns and its critics ask if force will help attain quality in the environment. Critics of this act have a problem with the procedural emphasis. All projects must pass through some procedure to determine if they will have negative or positive impact on the environment. For this to be achieved several actions must be taken. The inability for the act to have requirements to guide implementation or abandon of the project is not agreeable with the critics (Anderson, 2009).
Success and failure of NEPA to prevent environmental harm
One of the victory stories is that of the construction of a parkway in Utah that would act as an alternative route to salt lake county. This project elicited several reactions from the public. This included a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental groups. After having gone to court, it was decided that all parties involved draft a way forward that will enable them to revise the initial plan. Thus, the idea of the parkway was conceived instead of a highway. The parkway is operational now (Environmental law institute et al, n.d). A recent failure by the environmental stakeholders is seen in the case of the deepwater horizon blowout. This case was looked into by engineers but continues to be a mystery to date. Questions raised by public on the environmental stakeholders’ role in this tragedy are yet to be answered. (Barstow et al, 2010)
Environmental laws can be procedural or substantive
NEPA has been seen to have both procedural and substantive laws that give direction on what is to be done. Procedural laws are set of rules that govern proceedings of the court in criminal lawsuits and administrative proceedings. Substantive law is a law that deals with the legal relationship with people and the state. The difference between the two is that procedural laws lay down the rules and enforces them while the substantive law defines the rights and duties of the people. (Meiners et al, 2012).An example of a substantive violation could be pollution of the atmosphere by dumping heavy metals and radioactive materials. This is a violation that infringes on the rights of people, and they have the duty to guard against this. Concerning procedural environmental law, the rights to public participation, access information, and access to justice are realistic ways to attain environmental protection and attain development .The procedural laws deal with structures already to pursue some form of justice.
NEPA has been instrumental in guarding against environmental degradation. However the action forcing law and lack of regulations need to be looked into, so that this policy can serve everyone in the nation. The NEPA officials need to step up and work diligently to avoid public outcry and injustices when dealing the environment.
Anderson, M. W. (n.d.). National Environmental Policy Act.http://umaine.edu/. Retrieved March
11, 2014, from http://umaine.edu/soe/files/2009/06/National-Environmental-Policy-Act.pdf
Barstow, D., Dodd, L., Glanz, J., Saul, S., & Urbina, I. (2010, June 20). Between Blast and Spill,
One Last, Flawed Hope.The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?_r=0
Durant, R. F., Fiorino, D. J., & OLeary, R. (2004). .Environmental governance reconsidered:
Challenges, choices, and opportunities. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Environmental law institute, Grand Canyon Trust, & The Partnership Project (n.d.). NEPA
success stories: Celebrating 40 years of transparency and open government . .soe.salsalabs.com. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from https://soe.salsalabs.com/o/1/images/nep
Malone, L. A. (2007). Environmental law. Austin: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen
Meiners, R. E., Ringleb, A. H., & Edwards, F. L. (2012). .The legal environment of business.
Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
NEPA Homepage. (n.d.). .EPA. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from