The political and constitutional relationship that is known as "federalism" creates boundaries that often do not correspond to resources. The anadromous salmon and steelhead of the Columbia River Basin, for example, cross several jurisdictional boundaries during their life cycle. Jurisdictional boundaries frequently contribute to poor resource planning because some actors are excluded. One traditional response to such transboundary resource difficulties has been to nationalize the problem, thus creating a forum in which all of the actors may participate. Nationalization, however, may be overinclusive when the problem is regional. An alternative that is potentially more sensitive to local concerns is found in the compact clause of the Constitution. This clause allows states and the national government to reallocate authority to address regional issues. Two recent federal statutes have adopted the compact clause mechanism in response to Pacific Northwest resource allocation problems. This Article examines the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act as examples of a regional response to transboundary resource problems.
17 Envtl. L. 785 (1987)