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2014 Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum: The Role of State Leadership in Cooperative Federalism


October 21, 2014


Washington, DC

This year's ELI–Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum focused on state leadership in environmental protection, examining the inherent tension underlying state-federal partnerships and inconsistencies in state approaches to cooperative federalism.

Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once spoke of states as the “laboratories of democracy.” However, it is apparent that states are not at all united in their views regarding a proper leadership role. Several states, like California and New Jersey, are at the forefront when it comes to environmental regulation of toxics and hazardous substances. Other states are more hesitant to take an aggressive approach or believe in a more restrained role for government in environmental protection. Efforts such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are available for states that would like to engage in market-based regulatory programs, however, not all states participate.

EPA’s recently proposed rule, Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, will rely heavily on state implementation and will encourage states to grapple with where their role fits in the framework of the new regulatory scheme. Policy makers will ask themselves what role federal enforcement will play in the new rule, whether state-by-state flexibility is beneficial when tailoring regulation to local conditions, whether regulators should be concerned about states favoring local industry, how state-based regulation fits a regional power grid, and whether state leadership will result in a patchwork of regulation for affected industries.

During this year’s timely Keare Forum, participants heard from expert panelists representing a range of corporate, non-profit, and government perspectives. All of our panelists have held key leadership roles in the environmental field, and brought a wealth of insight to this discussion. The panel discussed the new EPA rule through the lens of state leadership, and opined on how the state-federal partnership will likely evolve in the future.

Bradley M. Campbell, Founder Bradley M. Campbell, LLC (moderator)
Linda Fisher, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, DuPont Safety, Health & Environment
Peter Lehner, Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
Robert “Bob” Martineau, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 1
Tracy Stone-Manning, Director, Montana Department of Environmental Quality