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Are There Any Environmental Rights?


  • Aaron Lercher


This paper extends the argument in H.L.A. Hart's 'Are there any natural rights?' to argue that there is an environmental moral right against pollution. This right is composed of a right against negligent, reckless or intentional risk imposition, together with the liberty to act in a way that does not negligently, recklessly or intentionally impose risks on others. This right is understood as overrideable or prima facie, and this paper does not claim that this right is the only basis of moral judgment in the cases it considers. The hypothesis that there is a right against pollution does, however, explain some moral reasoning about pollution that otherwise is difficult to explain.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron Lercher, 2007. "Are There Any Environmental Rights?," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 16(3), pages 355-368, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev16:ev1617

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Jeffords, 2011. "Constitutional Environmental Human Rights: A Descriptive Analysis of 142 National Constitutions," Economic Rights Working Papers 16, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.

    More about this item


    Environmental rights; H.L.A. Hart; Love Canal; environmental racism; cap and trade regulation of air pollution;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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