Essays on Federalism

Introduction for Essay

The environment that we are living in is changing and evolving every day due to the effect of its inhabitants, and by changing, I don’t mean for the better. The role of federalism allows the government to provide guidance and regulations in order to help protect the environment for the better. The guidance and regulations are suggestions for the States to implement in their societies in order to change their negative effect on the environment.

Research Paper on Federalism

There are many different methods of federalism, but in short, federalism is when the government shares its powers with the states instead of dictating the environmental regulations, and they give the states some leeway and let them approach the issues of pollution, global warming, biodiversity protection, and species protection however they think is best for their particular region/state. But is this the way the government should approach our environmental challenges? With this type of federalism, by providing this leniency to the states where changes may not even be put in place? Or should the government simply dictate the states and put in place the policies that need to be? What is in the best interest of the environment? This paper will dig into the role of federalism on behave of the environmental regulations on environmental policies.

Although our government is coming from a general federalist point of view, there are four models of federalism, central federalism, devolved federalism, dual federalism, and interactive federalism. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses in its approach to environmental federalism, but which one is the most efficient? ( Anderson, Terry. “Environmental Federalism: Thinking Smaller.” PERC, 16 Feb. 2018) Central federalism is when the federal government enacts necessary policies, regulations, and laws for solutions to environmental problems. Devolved federalism is when the solution is within provincial and local agencies, so the regulations for environmental resources, services, and goods are all appointed to these agencies.

Argumentative Essay Examples of Federalism

Dual federalism is the formulation of environmental policy, rules, and laws of the federal and provincial governments that are explicit and have different rights. Interactive federalism is the respective role regarding the formulation of environmental policy that must be worked out by the federal government and local agencies. This is how our Federalist system is run. But is it the most efficient? (O’Connor, Jared. “National League of Cities Rising: How the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Could Expand Tenth Amendment Jurisprudence.” Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review)

They each have their own weaknesses, such as having low people participation or not being flexible enough. Suppose the right to enact laws in regard to environmental uniformity can be maintained. Yet if this responsibility is given to each individual area, it may result in competition to reach the bottom instead of good environmental standards. (Harrison, Kathryn. Sundstrom, Lisa Mclntosh. “The Comparative Politics of Climate Change.” Global Environmental Politics)

Thesis Statement for Federalism

There are different categories in which federalism regards environmental protection and pollution control, such as climate change, water resources, forestry, protected areas, mines/minerals, land/agriculture, indigenous lands, and more. ( Engal, Kirsten H. “Harnessing the Benefits of Dynamic Federalism in Environmental Law.” Emory Law Journal). In regards to climate change, it would be appropriate to have put in place a provision that if the local laws are not consistent with the provincial laws, it would be null to avoid inconsistency.

Titles: Application of Environmental Federalism

However, in regards to water resources, clear-cut provisions in relation to sharing water resources put in by the federal government would allow for water conservation, regulating water pollution, and creating hydroelectricity that would not other be possible if every local government wasn’t under the same regulation. In regards to forestry, it would be appropriate for the government to enact structural laws in order for the individual governments to follow due to forestry already being a local responsibility and having no positive outcome. Forests have still been downsizing, so there does need to be some kind of guidance in that area.

Protected areas should have federal government provisions due to the fact that those specific areas are going to be an important part of the entire population rather than that specific community. Yet land//agriculture can be regulated due to its direct correlation with its community, with some regulations just for guidance. The pattern we see is the need for some type of regulation needing to be in place in order to guide the local governments. So is it worth providing all of this reference to local governments when it just creates more supervision of local governments? (Belbase, Narayan. “Environmental Federalism” April 2010, Engal, Kirsten H. “Harnessing the Benefits of Dynamic Federalism in Environmental Law.” Emory Law Journal)

Interaction with Government and Community Laws

Apart from environmental federalism is, of course, the ability of the government and community to put together laws and regulations that are mandatory for everyone to follow. This is important because the motive for environmental federalism is to put up regulations that will protect and enhance our environment. These regulations can be put in place by the government or at the local community level. Some of the laws that have already been in place by the government as an example, such as the Clean Air Act in 1970 put in place by Congress directing the EPA ( Environmental Protection Agency) put in place to set standards for ambient air quality in the United States. (Winston, Sherie. “Two Construction Cases Before High Court.” ENR: Engineering News-Record).

Or some regulations or events can be put in place at the state level such as Fort Worth having events such as the Trinity Trash bash. This event is not mandatory by the government, or even the state, the community of Fort Worth puts together and hosts this event of their free will. The community sees an issue and acts upon it in order to keep their own area of environment in the best shape possible. Environmental federalism works out positively in this scenario. (Oates, Wallace E. “Environmental Federalism – Wallace E. Oates.” Resources for the Future, 13 Jan. 2016) The court has decided several cases that are sort of in the gray area, as if it is the responsibility of the government or state to alter.

The main four areas of environmental law that come up to the Supreme Court would be the cleanup of hazardous waste, the effect of state enforcement on citizens under federal laws, the effect of state enforcement on citizens, and the management of federal land in the states. Each of these conflict areas creates a difficult process in order to find justice within the federalism of the government. The solution likely lies within the branches. (Renick, Matthew. “Why the Third Circuit Pro-Cooperative Federalism Preemption Holding in Bell Should Ultimately Be Adopted by the Supreme Court.” 42 B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.68)

Challenges and Protest in Environmental Regulation

Another challenge with environmental federalism is the regulation of organizations that the federal government has put in place, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In late 2002 the EPA issued new rules altering the requirements for installing pollution control technology. A group of states came together to fight the federal environmental agency in order to reconsider the rules, for they did not necessarily want to comply with them. (Richards, Scott. Hurt, Yvette. “Federalism and the Environment Cover Story” Director of CSG’s Center for Environmental Innovation. February 2014).

This is where the question comes into play of how far can and should we allow our government to regulate environmental factors. There has to be a good balance of federal and state regulations, and since we live with a federalism system, these states do have the right to protest these regulations. But is that the right decision? These regulations can actually have a large role in helping the environment and our effects on it, but by allowing states to protest them, are we doing the environment any justice? (Williams, Roberton C. “Growing State-Federal Conflicts in Environmental Policy: The Role of Market-Based Regulations.” Environment and Energy Economics. July 2010)


Federalism is a great system when it comes to letting the citizens have a say in who are our leaders and representatives, the majority of state and local regulations, and just letting the country be involved. But is that the most efficient way to approach a drastic changing and dependent factor of our sole existence? Or should we leave that to the government in order to make a change and save our planet?

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