Farmland preservation has become an important pursuit for those seeking to protect the working landscape against conversion to nonagricultural use. One of the most common approaches for securing this protection is through the targeted use of agricultural conservation easements, typically perpetual land- use agreements designed to limit incompatible activities in order to preserve future agricultural viability.
In the forty-four years since President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act (ESA), states have become increasingly frustrated by the lack of meaningful opportunities for involvement in the Act’s implementation. This frustration has led to a national discussion on ESA reform, a Republican priority supported by the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association and others. The frustration stems from being relegated to a post-listing back seat, despite state primacy in the management of imperiled species prior to a listing as threatened or endangered under the ESA.
For over one hundred years, presidents of both parties have used executive power to protect America’s lands and waters. Until the second half of the twentieth century, however, little attention was given to protecting the marine ecosystem. Federal authority reaches out to two hundred miles or more in the oceans off the United States, covering an area known as the Outer Continental Shelf.
The most important development in legal scholarship over the past quarter century has been the rise of empirical research. Drawing upon the traditions of legal realism and the law and economics movement, a variety of social science techniques have delivered fresh perspectives and punctured false claims. But environmental law has been slow to adopt empirical tools, and our findings indicate that it lags behind other fields.