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American Bar Association

ABA Section of Business Law


Business Law Today

Our mini-theme: The Regulation of Air

The legal landscape surrounding air quality regulation looks very different today than it did 30 years ago, when significant amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1977 clearly established the value of clean air in U.S. policy. In 2007, market forces and policies embodied in the Clean Air Act have made clean air a commodity, with formal markets for credit trading. Additionally, recent pressure to create renewable and independent sources of energy has resulted in an accelerating value of the harnessing of wind for energy. The mini-theme this month provides an examination of how air is regulated in the United States, as well as insight into some of these newer arenas of emissions trading and wind power.

Our first article by Erich Birch provides an overview of air quality laws and regulations. The U.S. system of regulating ambient air quality standards has resulted in an intricate weave of federal, state, and local laws. In combination, these laws and regulations have wide-ranging impacts across a broad sector of industry and, of course, on all of our day-to-day lives.

Nadia Zakir examines the system of emissions trading in the United States as it relates to the trading of greenhouse gas credits. A topic that is at the forefront of many policy makers' agendas, Zakir shows how the trading of traditional regulated pollutants have resulted in a market, even for pollutants that are not currently regulated.

Finally, Mustafa Ostrander explores a concept that has been reinvigorated by the current emphasis on the development of renewable energy—the generation of wind power. Old legal concepts of land use are combined with emerging concepts such as the rights to harness energy from wind.

These articles provide not only a comprehensive explanation of how the air is regulated in the United States, but also a glimpse at the direction in which we are headed. With issues of global warming and energy independence expanding upon the national stage, it is clear the changes that have occurred in the past 30 years are only the beginning.

— Mark Anderson
Arlington, Virginia



Air quality regulation in the United States
A complicated system yields laudable results
By Erich Birch

Emissions trading initiatives
Responding to climate change through market forces
By Nadia Zakir

Wind power
A lawyer's guide to representing landowners
By Mustafa P. Ostrander

Is your cross-border deal the next national security lightning rod?
Identifying potential national security issues and navigating the CFIUS review process
By Ilene Knable Gotts, Leon B. Greenfield, and Perry Lange

Doing business with Alaska Native corporations
A new model for Native American business entities
By Budd Simpson

The immigration crackdown on employers
The government steps up work site enforcement
By Roger Tsai

New Department of Justice guidelines on corporate prosecutions
Does the song remain the same?
By Eric W. Sitarchuk and Gina M. Smith

More than an ocean separates us
What you might not know about EU competition law
By Porter Elliott

Fobian rule is a casualty of Travelers
The Supreme Court's decision raises new questions for bankruptcy attorneys
By William P. Weintraub

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