Title: New possibilities for sustainability, environmental justice and hope for the commons will soar when Congress acts to create the US Department of the Environment

Authors: Jane Kloeckner

Addresses: University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City, Missouri, USA; US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, Lenexa, Kansas, USA

Abstract: It is time to elevate the US Environmental Protection Agency to a departmental-level agency. The new US Department of the Environment would establish a focal point and permanent, authoritative position among the Presidential Secretaries for a coherent environmental vision for the country and a transition to a sustainable, flourishing society with a hope for the commons. The 21st century challenges demand action now as climate change and environmental justice are too critical for the environment not to be an official part of the cabinet. The congress can merge the council on environmental quality (CEQ) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into the DoE by amending certain federal environmental laws and enacting and enabling legislation with organic authority and sustainability principles. The DoE legislation must be clean and uncluttered with superfluous amendments. In addition, the legislation would establish sustainability principles, practices, guidelines and objectives for the new DoE. This paper demonstrates that a paradigm shift in US environmental governance is needed to begin moving toward sustainability and a new way of life.

Keywords: EPA; Environmental Protection Agency; Council on Environmental Quality; CEQ; sustainability; cabinet secretary; environmental justice; climate change; NEPA; National Environmental Policy Act; US President; environmental law; Department of the Environment; Congress; White House; sustainable development; USA; United States; environmental governance.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2015.071025

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2015 Vol.16 No.2/3/4, pp.217 - 231

Received: 23 Oct 2014
Accepted: 12 May 2015

Published online: 05 Aug 2015 *

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