History teaches us that the natural development of our land and resources has been a contentious undertaking. Until recently, the issues that today make up the corpus of “environmental law” were not to be found in environmental cases, legislative journals or in environmental law treatises. Instead, they were found under the rubrics of property, constitutional law, contract and the common law.
Today, environmental law consists of a complex and interlocking body of treaties, conventions, statutes, regulations, and common law that attempt to work together in unison to regulate how we (individuals, governmental entities and businesses) interact with the rest of the biophysical or natural environment.
This primer can barely scratch the surface of this massive, ever-growing corpus of law. Therefore, rather than attempt a comprehensive synopsis of the substance of environmental law, it serves more as our guided tour to give you a sense of the layout and architecture of the law and to provide you with some details.
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