Triangulating the Future of Reinvention

Three Emerging Models of Environmental Protection

Environmental regulations and EPA actions have become in-creasingly improvisational in recent years. This reinvention of envi-ronmental law has led to three possible scenarios for the future. The first model is a unilateral one, in which firms are self-regulating enti-ties and the government serves only to encourage and enforce such self-regulation. A second, multilateral model focuses on the involve-ment of many parties in the regulation process. Finally, the bilateral model stresses bargaining between governmental regulators and the firms being regulated.Professor Farber concludes that the bilateral bargaining model offers the most promising vision of the immediate future of environ-mental regulation. Although some additional insights can also be gained from the other two models, Professor Farber believes that the bilateral model strikes the most appropriate balance between flexibil-ity and accountability.* Henry J. Fletcher Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty, University of Minnesota. Thanks to Jody Freeman and Dan Gifford for helpful comments.

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