Richard Revesz testifies about environmental regulation before House subcommittee

Richard Revesz, Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus as well as director of NYU Law's Institute for Policy Integrity, weighed in on the question of federalism and environmental regulation in a July 11 appearance before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

Richard Revesz

At the hearing, titled “Constitutional Considerations: States vs. Federal Environmental Policy Implementation,” Revesz, a noted authority on environmental law through an administrative law and regulatory policy lens, focused in his testimony on the question of when federal intervention in environmental policy is desirable.

Revesz made three broad points to the subcommittee. First, he asserted that the existence of interstate externalities, when one state’s pollution adversely affects the environment of another state or of the entire country, constitutes the strongest argument supporting federal environmental regulation. Second, Revesz argued that the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, should be regulated federally due to fugitive methane emissions released into the atmosphere. Finally, he suggested that, in general, federal standards should not preempt more stringent state standards for environmental regulation.

“I think to justify preemption and to displace the state’s ability to protect their citizens at a level that’s more stringent than what the federal government can do nationwide is a big decision,” said Revesz, “and should only be done if the empirical evidence is very compelling.”

Posted on July 15, 2014