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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The general view of environmental law’s history is that prior to explosion of environmental legislation in the 1970s, environmental regulation as we think of it today—a branch of public law in which the regulator sets standards for activities with environmental impacts—was insignificant. Environmental law lacks a historical anchor, a back story, which is unfortunate for the historical ignorance it perpetuates. Environmental law also lacks history as a mode of argument or analysis. For these reasons, environmental law needs both heightened historical analysis and a sense of its own historical roots. This chapter sketches current, possible, and desirable directions for future research into the history of environmental law. It also offers some thoughts on why the exploration of environmental law matters.

Keywords: legal history, environmental law, environmental regulation, public law, police regulation, commons, nuisance law

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