Noah D. Hall


This article presents a new model for environmental policy, called cooperative horizontal federalism. The cooperative horizontal federalism approach utilizes a constitutional mechanism for states to bind themselves to common substantive and procedural environmental protection standards, implemented individually with regional resources and enforcement. Here, the concept of the cooperative horizontal federalism model is illustrated through the recently proposed Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Under this proposed compact, the eight Great Lakes states would cooperatively manage the world's largest freshwater resource under common minimum standards, which are then incorporated into state law and implemented individually. This cooperative horizontal federalism approach avoids the "race to the bottom " that often undermines individual state efforts, but still allows states the flexibility to craft environmental policies best suited to their specific needs and preferences.