Press Release

Looking Back to Move Forward: Resolving Health & Environmental Crises

New book explores seven major health and environmental crises in recent decades, and the lessons they offer as we address future challenges.

Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — The State Ener­gy & Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Cen­ter and the Envi­ron­men­tal Law Insti­tute today announced the release of Look­ing Back to Move For­ward: Resolv­ing Health & Envi­ron­men­tal Crises, a new book that exam­ines and draws lessons from efforts to resolve sev­en com­plex, large-scale health and envi­ron­men­tal crises in recent decades.

The book’s authors — lead­ing experts on these crises — offer a wealth of insights that should guide the courts, Con­gress, advo­cates and pol­i­cy­mak­ers as they address future chal­lenges, includ­ing those already on our doorstep, such as cli­mate change, the opi­oid epi­dem­ic and per- and poly­flu­o­roalkyl sub­stance (PFAS) con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. The book includes:

Deep dives into sev­en recent health and envi­ron­men­tal crises:

  • Diethyl­stilbe­strol (DES) Daughters
  • Tobac­co Mas­ter Set­tle­ment Agreement
  • Nation­al Child­hood Vac­cine Injury Act
  • Asbestos
  • Super­fund Program
  • Deep­wa­ter Horizon
  • Volk­swa­gen Diesel­gate”

A syn­the­sis of lessons learned from these sev­en case stud­ies, dis­tilled into four key take­aways:

  1. Glob­al set­tle­ments are not a nec­es­sary route for resolv­ing major health and envi­ron­men­tal problems.
  2. Do not com­pro­mise on the basics: Respon­si­ble par­ties must be held account­able and the offend­ing con­duct stopped, and vic­tims must be com­pen­sat­ed and dam­aged resources restored.
  3. Mean­ing­ful pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in the res­o­lu­tion process and pub­lic sup­port for pro­posed solu­tions will enhance the prospects of success.
  4. Nation­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant health and envi­ron­men­tal crises present lawyers, courts, and pol­i­cy­mak­ers with enor­mous logis­ti­cal and man­age­ment chal­lenges that must be con­front­ed and addressed.

Learn more about Look­ing Back to Move For­ward:

A screengrab from a Youtube video with a red play button overlaid.


About the State Ener­gy & Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Cen­ter
The State Ener­gy & Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Cen­ter (State Impact Cen­ter) is a non-par­ti­san Cen­ter at the NYU School of Law that is ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing state attor­neys gen­er­al fight against reg­u­la­to­ry roll­backs and advo­cate for clean ener­gy, cli­mate change, and envi­ron­men­tal val­ues and pro­tec­tions. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it our web­site.