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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.
The standpoint of environmental justice has become integral to environmental law in the last thirty years. Environmental justice criticizes mainstream environmental law and advocacy institutions on three main fronts: for paying too little attention to the distributive effects of environmental policy; for emphasizing elite and professional advocacy over participation in decision making by affected communities; and for adhering to a woods-and-waters view of which problems count as “environmental” that disregards the importance of neighborhoods, workplaces, and cities.
In recent years, China has adopted a range of measures for information disclosure or “open government information.” This comes as a surprise in an authoritarian system known more for secrecy and information control. Why do authoritarian leaders embrace such mechanisms, and how do state and society actors respond? This Article examines in particular the emergence of environmental information disclosure in China, and makes two main contributions to the scholarly debate on Chinese law and governance.