The law is constantly evolving. However, some areas of the law seem to be evolving more rapidly than others. For example, it has been more than 1,900 days since Congress passed major environmental legislation. There are certainly benefits to having broad elements of environmental law remain stable. However, as times change it is only natural for the law to evolve with the times.
According to many experts, the last time that Congress passed major environmental reform was when it voted to approve the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act in February of 2009. Interestingly, this bill is not an environmental law bill per-se. This bill is better known as the 2009 stimulus package. It just happens to contain major environmental initiatives within several provisions. Specifically, it contains $90 billion to fund a number of green initiatives.
The last major stand-alone environmental law bill that Congress passed was approved in 2007. This stand-alone bill is the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Though numerous other environmental initiatives have been addressed in larger omnibus bills and bills affecting specific regions since that time, Congress has essentially not reformed the nation’s approach to environmental law in a number of years.
It is important to note however that agencies focused on environmental protection are constantly making changes to their regulations. Therefore, even if Congress has not reformed environmental law in some time, agencies and judges are consistently evolving the nation’s environmental law. As a result, you should certainly consult the advice of an experienced attorney if you have any questions about the current state of any specific aspect of environmental law.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Congress Hasn’t Passed A Major Environmental Law In 1,894 Days,” Kate Sheppard, April 22, 2014