Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Winter 2017

Abstract

This article takes the opportunity to reflect upon the rapid rise and maturation of local environmental regulation in the Mountain West, which has been one of the country’s fastest growing regions in the last twenty-five years. Section I of this article first offers several reasons why local environmental regulation has become popular over the past several decades in the Mountain West. The article then explores several of the key forms of local environmental regulation to emerge. Section II focuses on those local environmental regulations that address living with and preserving access to the natural environment, both of which are among the major reasons why people choose to live in, and move to, the Mountain West. Section III focuses on local environmental regulations that are intended to recognize, map, and plan for natural hazards, such as drought, floods, and wildfire, that are common in the Mountain West. Section IV focuses on those local environmental regulations with which cities seek to “green” the urban environment, such as green building and green infrastructure, both to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Section V focuses on those local environmental regulations that seek to address the legacy and reemergence of “old west” industries, such as hydraulic fracturing and other types of mining. Section VI looks at efforts, successful and otherwise, to engage regionally in environmental planning where rapid development spreads across jurisdictions. The article concludes with several predictions and issues to watch in the next twenty-five years of local environmental regulation in the Mountain West.

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Authors: Stephen R. Miller, Barbara J.B. Green, Edward Thomas, J. Lawrence Frank

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