Skip navigation
Hardcover | $99.00 Text | £68.95 | ISBN: 9780262012386 | 1128 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 48 figs, 31 tbl illus.| May 2008

Essential Info

  • Index
  • Law and Policy Updates (Chapter Updates)

Instructor Resources

Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics

Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda


The past twenty-five years have seen a significant evolution in environmental policy, with new environmental legislation and substantive amendments to earlier laws, significant advances in environmental science, and changes in the treatment of science (and scientific uncertainty) by the courts. This book offers a detailed discussion of the important issues in environmental law, policy, and economics, tracing their development over the past few decades through an examination of environmental law cases and commentaries by leading scholars. The authors focus on pollution, addressing both pollution control and prevention, but also emphasize the evaluation, design, and use of the law to stimulate technical change and industrial transformation, arguing that there is a need to address broader issues of sustainable development.

Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics, which grew out of courses taught by the authors at MIT, treats the traditional topics covered in most classes in environmental law and policy, including common law and administrative law concepts and the primary federal legislation. But it goes beyond these to address topics not often found in a single volume: the information-based obligations of industry, enforcement of environmental law, market-based and voluntary alternatives to traditional regulation, risk assessment, environmental economics, and technological innovation and diffusion. Countering arguments found in other texts that government should play a reduced role in environmental protection, this book argues that clear, stringent legal requirements—coupled with flexible means for meeting them—and meaningful stakeholder participation are necessary for bringing about environmental improvements and technological transformations.

About the Authors

Nicholas A. Ashford is Professor of Technology and Director of the Technology and Law Program at MIT. Ashford is co-author (with Charles C. Caldart) of Technology, Law, and the Working Environment.

Charles C. Caldart is Director of Litigation of the National Environmental Law Center and a Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. Caldart is co-author (with Nicholas A. Ashford) of Technology, Law, and the Working Environment.


"Ashford and Caldart have produced an extraordinary book sweeping across thescientific complexity, legal underpinnings, economic logic, and policychallenges of environmental protection. With its encyclopedic range andvaluable detailed analyses of the core statutes addressing air and waterpollution, waste, and chemical exposures as well as other issues, this bookoffers an indispensable foundation for those seeking to understand society'sapproach to environmental challenges."
Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, YaleLaw School

"This book is a timely and important contribution, written by authors who combine decades of academic excellence with significant real life experiences. It demonstrates the cutting edge potential for law to become a policy tool that can drive sustainable innovation when applied by knowledgeable and capable practitioners. The vast and comprehensive scope is both broad and deep; the synthesis of complex interconnections is a welcome tour de force."
Ted Smith, Founder and former Executive Director, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and Coordinator, International Campaign for Responsible Technology

"At a time when the world is rethinking environmental policy, this book provides a tremendous resource for academics, policymakers, and the environmental community. The work presents a rich multi-disciplinary perspective on historical approaches and offers alternative innovative solutions to environmental and public health protection. It is the textbook we have always needed."
Thomas A. Burke, Professor and Director, Johns Hopkins University Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, and former Deputy Commissioner of Health, N.J.

"The inclusion of environmental science in the context of a treatise on environmental law, policy, and economics makes this book one of the most comprehensive, useful, and timeless treatments on the subject to date."
Jennifer Sass, Ph.D., Senior scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council

"Radical reformation of industrial production must become a much higher priority to avoid human and environmental catastrophes in an age of global terrorism and commerce. The authors lay out the philosophical and policy underpinnings that support the cutting edge synthesis of inherent safety and pollution prevention. If the new paradigm is embraced, thehealth of workers, communities, businesses, and the environment will be sustained."
Jerry Poje, Ph.D., former board member of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

"This book provides a comprehensive introduction, a thorough assessment, and a needed resource for anyone interested in reducing environmental pollution. It provides a useful framework for preventing harm, transforming our technologies, and increasing business innovations with an excellent presentation of theories of pollution in social, economic, and legal context, and the shortcomings of prevailing regulatory and enforcement approaches. This book arrives just in time as our federal regulatory system is in critical need of repair. It is likely to become the bible for activists, academics or any change agent."
Gary D. Bass, Ph.D., Executive Director, OMB Watch and Affiliated Associate Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown Public Policy Institute

"This treatise offers an engaging text for the serious student of public policy who wants to understand environmental policy design from a technical, legal, and economic perspective. The analysis offers a penetratingly critical review of current policies and how we developed them, insightfully analyzing what works and what does not. Focused on chemical hazards, pollution, and industrial organization, the book addresses the fragmented, media-specific statutes with a fresh, innovation-driven technology approach that presents a positive, integrated, and solution-oriented vision for the next wave of policy development."
Ken Geiser, Ph.D., Director, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production and Founding Director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute

"This book explores not only the basic environmental pollution control lawsbut also, and of fundamental importance, the ways in which these laws do ordo not lead to cleaner production. Its explanations of various concepts andlegal tools will be useful to both students and practitioners."
John C. Dernbach, Professor of Law, Widener University Law School

"An excellent, provocative book by two leadings scholars that challengesmuch of the accepted wisdom that has guided public policy. Agree or not, itis thoughtful "must reading" for everyone who is serious about environmentallaw and policy."
E. Donald Elliott, former General Counsel, U.S. EPA; Adjunct Professor ofLaw, Yale and Georgetown Law Schools; Partner and Head of EnvironmentalHealth and Safety Department, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

"A comprehensive and invaluable compendium of two decades of scholarship and jurisprudence on the legal, social, and economic dimensions of pollution regulation, control, and prevention. Written largely from an American perspective, the volume draws important lessons from the comparative, European experience, as well."
David A. Sonnenfeld, Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

"For teachers, students, and active citizens, this comprehensive textclearly and superbly covers the complex subjects of environmental pollution,law, policy, and economics over a broad and dynamic reality. A virtuosoachievement by two seasoned scholars and practitioners."
Ralph Nader

"Highly recommended for use both in the classroom and the law office. It is not only a highly useful treatise on the field, but a convincing affirmation of the central role law plays in environmental protection."
William Futrell, President; Sustainable Development Law Associates