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David Schoenbrod

Professor at New York Law School, once a leading architect of state-organized environmentalism, now a critic of it


The growth in the [U.S.] Environmental Protection Agency’s power can be roughly gauged by the growth in the length of the Clean Air Act — from 8 double-spaced typed pages in 1965, to 76 pages in 1970, to 272 pages in 1977, to 718 pages in 1990. ... The Clean Air Act, and many other statutes modeled on it allow a federal agency to run major segments of civil society on quasi-military lines running from Congress down through the EPA to states and ultimately the regulated entities. Operating this chain of command entails compiling a great mountain of statutes, regulations, guidance documents, plans, permits, and reports. ... The point of this system is power, not environmental quality.

Mar. 1999 - from "Legislating Ideals", published in PERC Reports
Around 1970, the government began to go beyond enforcing society’s norms and began imposing intellectually generated ideals on society. ... We felt entitled to remake society. We wanted new kinds of statutes that would force agencies to bend society to our ideals on a timetable.

Mar. 1999 - from "Legislating Ideals", published in PERC Reports