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Relations of Environmental Laws and Environmental Analysis Essay (Article)

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Updated: May 14th, 2020

The fact that an environmental analysis and environmental laws are closely interconnected can hardly be doubted. The relevant phenomenon might be explained by the fact that any regulation that the government implements requires a valid scientific base. On the other hand, a reversed connection is also present in these relations. Thus, the necessity of carrying out an environmental analysis can be imposed by a particular law. Therefore, the question arises to what extent these aspects impact one another.

First, and foremost, it is essential to note that in many cases, environmental analysis serves to be the starting point for the implementation of an environmental law or act. Thus, for example, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) implemented in 1971 in Washington was preceded by a long-term and profound environmental analysis. As long as the Act announces a common right for a healthy environment, it necessarily provides some clarification on what this environment is supposed to include (Braddock, 2015). The characteristics assigned to the healthy environment were summarized in accordance with the initial analysis of the state of the local nature. Therefore, in this case, the environmental analysis is an integral part of the implemented act as the former provided the relevant framework for the latter.

Moreover, the fact that environmental laws impose particular costs on the national budget is evident. Therefore, before implementing such a law, one needs to assure its cost-effectiveness. From this perspective, an environmental analysis can assist considerably in evaluating the benefits and potential risks of a particular regulation. Hence, for instance, the implementation of the Clean Air Act did not occur until the relevant environmental analysis had been carried out so that the government received a scientific approval of the targeted measure (Gayer, 2011).

Whereas the first two examples illustrate how an environmental analysis influences the generation of environmental laws and other regulations, it is, likewise, critical to point out the cases when the relevant laws determine the employment of an environmental analysis. The most vivid example of such a case is the Environmental Impact Assessment Law that provides an explicit description of the circumstances under which an environmental analysis is required as well as outlines a detailed plan of the procedure (Maughan, 2013). In this case, environmental protection is imposed from above, contrary to the previous examples where the environmental analysis served to be an impulse for carrying out the essential protection measures.

Another example of a similar character is the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act that requires any project proponent to provide a relevant Environmental Report (Maughan, 2013). The following report represents a standard environmental analysis extended with regard to some formalities. Nevertheless, the example still illustrates the case when a particular legal regulation prompts the implementation of the environment protection measures.

It is also necessary to note that the scope for environmental analysis is different in the two cases. Whereas in the first two examples, one might deal with a general analysis examining a particular phenomenon on the whole, in the latter cases, the analysis’s framework might be narrowed to the study of a specific area or issue.

The evidence described above proves the presence of a close interconnection between an environmental analysis and environmental laws. Thus, in some cases, the former serves to be the cause of the implementation of the latter, whereas, under different circumstances, one might see a reversed impact.

Reference List

Braddock, T. (2015). Washington Environmental Law Handbook. Lanham, Maryland: Bernan Press.

Gayer, T. (2011). Web.

Maughan, J.T. (2013). Environmental Impact Analysis: Process and Methods. New York, New York: CRC Press.

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