ABA SEER’S Review of Existing Laws and Nanotechnology

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Earlier this year, the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) offered to brief representatives of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of General Counsel on legal and regulatory issues arising in connection with the application of existing statutory and regulatory authorities to engineered nanoscale materials. SEER prepared briefing documents on each statute, and a separate briefing document on innovative governance mechanisms. Each document identifies the legal and regulatory issues EPA will likely encounter as it considers how best to address issues arising in connection with nanotechnology. All seven briefing documents, which are solely the product of SEER and do not purport to represent the opinions of EPA, are available at http://www.abanet.org/environ.

These papers provide the first comprehensive review of these federal statutes with a view toward assessing their utility in addressing the legal and regulatory issues presented by nanotechnology. The papers conclude that these core environmental statutes provide EPA with broad legal authority to address the challenges EPA is encountering as it assesses the potential risks and benefits associated with engineered nanoscale materials.

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