Chapter 2 – Recurrent Themes in U.S. Environmental Law


Environmental regulation must balance competing goals. The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviews all draft rules with significant impact and plays a central role in rationalizing competing interests. As a result of Presidential Executive Orders, EPA and other agencies must produce regulatory impact analyses (RIAs), including benefit-cost studies and risk assessments, and examine the environmental justice implications of their proposed regulations. Redundancy is a key feature of environmental enforcement with statutes often providing for civil and criminal penalties as well as citizen suits. Two broad approaches to environmental regulation have emerged: (1) command and control mandates including various forms of Best Available Technology (BAT) requirements, and (2) market mechanisms that rely on economic incentives such as price signals that invoke the Polluter Pays Principle and induce regulated entities to think creatively about how to reduce their environmental impacts—often providing greater flexibility and efficiency.