This book examines the systematic constraints on U.S. law enforcement agencies' efforts to regulate business behavior. It looks specifically at the postwar development of laws regulating water pollution and at the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to enforce them. The discussion traces the factors leading to legal change and analyzes the ways in which the impacts of environmental laws vary from their stated purposes and goals, even under relatively favorable conditions for their enforcement. It shows how legal processes and social relations mutually constrain and shape one another as the state struggles to manage often contradictory responsibilities, in this case to encourage both economic growth and environmental welfare. The book is principally directed at social scientists and their students in the areas of sociology of law, public policy, political sociology, political economy and criminology. It is also directed at legal and policy practitioners in environmental regulation and educated lay readers concerned with environmental policy.
'an illuminating work for anyone concerned with the state and environmental regulation.' Political Studies 'The Limits of Law provides a well-researched, concise history of the evolution of attempts to reduce industrial pollution of US waterways from 1948 through to the 1980s.' Lettie McSpadden Wenner, American Journal of Sociology