Professor Denis Binder’s article “Looking Back to the Future: The Curmudgeon’s Guide to the Future of Environmental Law” was recently published in the 
Akron Law Review
(Volume 46, Number 4, 2013).

Excerpt from the abstract:

binder-akron-law-review-small“The enactment of NEPA on January 1, 1970 and the inaugural Earth Day on April 22, 1970 signaled an epochal change in America from a resource exploitation society to one focusing on the quality of life. Beginning with the early settlers, America fought to conquer the wilderness, dredge, fill, or drain the wetlands, bridge the rivers, mine or pump fossil fuels, harvest the forests, divert water, and farm the Great Plains. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the three federal swamplands acts, the railroad land grants and the Homestead Act, the General Mining Law, the Newlands Act, and the Multiple Use Act are examples of the drive to exploit the air, land, mineral, timber, fishing, and water resources of the nation. The American economy was built on cheap energy.

The exploitation of our natural resources resulted in both economic growth and environmental degradation, often incalculable pollution. The era of affluence that followed World War 11 allowed America to refocus itself on preserving and restoring the environment.

Society must meet the basic needs of modern civilization: potable water, electricity, and fuel for our cars. Shortages are appearing. The question arises therefore is if the past 4 decades represent a change in paradigms, a pause, or an adjustment in the history of America’s development? The thesis of this article is that the preceding 350 years still play a role in defining our environmental future.”

View the full publication

denis-binder-2Denis Binder
is a professor of law at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. His career teaching Antitrust, Environmental Law, Torts, and Toxic Torts at law schools nationwide spans four decades. Professor Binder has received the National Award of Merit from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials for his contributions to promoting dam safety.

See more of Professor Binder’s writings