People normally perceive environmental law to be a piecemeal of federal laws mostly concerned with terminating pollution from point sources, such as smoke stacks or water pipes. Land use law on the other hand, is normally a local undertaking, often ignoring national or even regional issues. Today’s new breed of environmental problems, such as sprawl, require that different levels of government work together to create a comprehensively planned land use strategy in order to mitigate long-term environmental degradation. Through the use of financial incentives and other tools, larger bodies of government help encourage local governments to take the necessary steps to work among themselves, in order to solve unique local environmental problems within the scope of a larger regional or national plan.
John R. Nolon, Our Town: Local Governments Play Larger Role in Environmental Policy, N.Y. L.J., Dec. 19, 2001, at 3, http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/704/.