Environmental Law and the Management of our Natural Resources

Today is World Environment Day, the leading global environmental holiday. The main goal of World Environment Day is to raise awareness about pertinent environmental issues and the way that human activities impact the environment. In honor of World Environment Day, we’d like to examine some ways that law and regulations can be altered to better protect and utilize the environment.

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When considering environmental laws, typically the first thing that comes to mind is the Environmental Protection Agency, and major laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, environmental laws can be found in every different category of law, from global treaties to private real estate regulations. When it comes to protecting the environment minor, little-known laws can be just as vital as major Acts.

 

In the field of Real Estate Law, for example, several new factors must now be considered to enable the most pragmatic and beneficial uses for limited resources. Property owners are now seeking out means of obtaining their own natural resources and energy, whether by collecting water in rain barrels or harnessing energy from solar panels. As these new practices arise, new laws must be put in to place to regulate them.

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For instance, if one building has solar panels, and neighboring building is obstructing the panels and thus rendering them unable to efficiently collect sunlight, something must be done. However, property law has traditionally focused on entitlements to tangible resources and has therefore been slow to recognize the rights to sunlight and clean air.

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A new property right in the form of a negative easement might help to regulate access to these resources. Reconceiving the property tax as a tool for regulating these resources and protecting the environment would also be highly advantageous. In many instances, a few minor changes to property regulations would save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help preserve our natural resources. Hopefully, these new modifications to real estate law will occur in the near future.

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Source: Climate Change and Property Ownership https://works.bepress.com/greg-sergienko/2/

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