Document Type



Wisconsin Law Review




The implementation of environmental law and policy has assumed that pollution could be contained, corralled and interdicted within the medium (air, land, or water) in which unpleasant effects are encountered. Sweeping, but piecemeal, federal legislation in the 1970s aspired to create healthy air, together with fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters. Despite impressive gains, these goals have not been achieved. There have been painful failures, compounded by the mounting costs of environmental protection. While the need for environmental protection is generally accepted, the effectiveness and efficiency of regulation based on the legislation of the 1970s has been questioned in the 1980s.

This Article argues that the twin goals of efficiency and effectiveness could be satisfied by adopting an integrated approach to pollution control. It is fundamental to such an approach that the effects of pollution should be pursued to their sources, and that air, land and water be considered as one environment rather than as separate and discrete parts. Professor Guruswamy develops his argument by tracing the legislative history of two epochal environmental events: the enactment of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts of the 1970s and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He points out how the integrative thrust behind the EPA floundered amidst a climate of opinion hostile to New Deal expertise, legislative turf battles and administrative jealousies. Maintaining that integration is an idea whose time has come, Professor Guruswamy nevertheless contends that new comprehensive environmental legislation will face insuperable obstacles. Arguing for an administrative solution, he relies on evolving concepts of environmental policy, and comparative examples abroad, to recall EPA to its original mandate of integration. Finally, Professor Guruswamy analyzes the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to demonstrate the considerable extent to which an integrated approach, based on TSCA, could be implemented by the EPA.