Letting States Do the Dirty Work: State Responsibility for Federal Environmental Regulation
Under most U.S. environmental regulations, the federal government shares responsibility with the states by authorizing them to implement and enforce federal policies. Authorization provides states with considerable discretion over the effects of regulation and is perhaps the most significant decentralization in U.S. environmental policy. However, few studies address its role. To fill this gap, this paper explores the empirical determinants of authorization for water pollution and hazardous waste regulation. No single hypothesis strongly explains authorization, but I find some evidence that states authorize to increase the stringency of regulation. This evidence points to desirable effects of decentralization.
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