Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of one of the iconic moments of modern environmental history—the infamous Cuyahoga River fire in Cleveland. Things were so bad, the legend goes, that rivers were catching fire! But most of what you think you know about that story is incomplete or inaccurate, argues Jonathan H. Adler, the Johan Verheij Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. In a now-famous article, “Fables of the Cuyahoga,” Adler explains “the rest of the story,” to borrow an old saying. Part of that story is about why subsequent national legislation wasn’t always the best or only remedy for environmental problems.
Like most law professors, Jon is an ardent Supreme Court watcher, so we also talk about jurisprudence, the all-important “Chevron Doctrine” that is now subject of many second thoughts and potential revisions, and how a number of common perceptions of the Supreme Court are inaccurate. And since Jon specializes in environmental law, we also spend a few minutes on what else—climate change.
The bumper music was selected to match our topic: “Carbon Monoxide” by Cake, and “Bad Pollution” by the Zucchini Brothers.