Edmund S. Muskie: The Enviornmental Leader and Champion
Leon Billings has referred to Edmund S. Muskie as America’s “most important environmental leader”1 and Richard Lazarus has called him “environmental law’s champion.”2 Indeed he was. Their essay in this volume make evident Muskie’s enormous and enduring legacy in shaping the environmental laws that have protected health and life for more than forty years and the remarkable extent to which executive agencies and courts continue to look and rely upon the work he did roughly four decades ago. To the extent there are inadequacies in the regulatory regime, Muskie cannot fairly be blamed. He left Congress more than thirty-five years ago; surely it could (and should) have installed the update subsequent experience suggested and new situations require. Billings helped produce, and Lazarus is the leading legal scholar of,3 Muskie’s two most monumental environmental accomplishments—the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972—and these two laws, especially the Clean Air Act, are the focus of their two essays. Those two seminal environmental laws occurred I the context of Muskie’s work as an environmentalist and as one of the great legislators of the twentieth century, and this Introduction to the Billings and Lazarus contributions simply and briefly so locates them.