The argument of this Article proceeds on several fronts. First, using the example of transport of hazardous materials, and, occasionally, more general issues surrounding regulation of toxic substances, this Article will document the absence of a local voice in federal administrative law. Because of the dangers involved in the use of hazardous materials, they present a particularly troubling example of the risks and possible consequences involved in neglecting local initiatives. The analysis used here applies with force to most fields of administrative law, to everything from health and safety regulation and maintenance of police forces to highway location and the provision of public housing.
Second, the Article identifies the underlying assumptions which make possible this conspiracy of indifference to notions of decentralized power in administrative law This is a plea for the virtues of inconsistency as against the often-muttered truisms about the regulatory value of consistency and uniformity. The case of hazardous materials starkly illustrates the necessity of engaging in decentralizing reform of administrative law and turning to local, broadly participatory forms of administrative control. Given the time it can take to remedy faulty federal administrative procedures and decisions, local procedural experimentation seems a promising means to help prevent the possibility of future environmental disasters - or worse. Endorsing a speculation of Richard B. Stewart, "[i]t may be persuasively argued that the ideal of a unitary theory of administrative law is untenable and is likely to distract us from the world's complexity and hinder the development of inventive solutions to the variety of problems that confront us."
Third, this Articles's examination of periodical literature on administrative law in the United States exposes the limited vision of the legal academic establishment with regard to the possibilities for decentralized administrative power. Fourth, the Article explores speculative, more idealistic proposals for localities desiring legal recognition of their administrative voices, in addition to proposing practical short-term solutions by which localities can begin to correct their relative administrative disempowerment. Finally, the Article concludes that for these proposals to be effective there needs to be flexibility m implementing these solutions.
4 Fordham Envtl. L.Rep. 47 (1992).