Environmental law fundamentally depends on the production of information by environmental science. However, the inevitable uncertainty in environmental science means that policy will necessarily intertwine with science, allowing for the concealment of value choices and trade-offs by agencies, interest groups, and politicians under a patina of science. Scholars and decision makers have struggled over how to resolve this “science charade.” This Article proposes a new approach to the underlying challenge by closely examining the diversity of scientific disciplines in environmental law. Scientific disciplines each develop their own perspectives that are based in part on values and that shape the information they produce. Understood this way, the intersection of law and science can be greatly simplified. Instead of attempting to separate science and policy out for every significant individual decision, we can make generalizations about how science and policy will interact depending on the discipline that produces the relevant information. We can also understand scientific disciplines as essential components to the designing of any regulatory or management system. For instance, particular disciplines might be privileged in the legal or institutional structure to help advance specific policy goals; we might insulate the decision-making process from disciplines that interfere with the accomplishment of those goals; or, we might balance multiple disciplines in order to reduce the risk of disciplinary blind spots that interfere with policy making.
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