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Sturm College of Law


International environmental law, Ballot initiatives, Public awareness, Foreign affairs, Commerce clause


Ballot initiatives are generally seen as a local phenomenon, and consequently have rarely been examined from an international perspective. Thus, the subcategory of international environmental initiatives is small. However, in the last thirty years, the use of ballot initiatives has increased in the United States. 17 With the expanding globalization of society, more and more ballot initiatives may have an impact on international environmental issues. Some of these international environmental ballot initiatives will pass and may become enforceable laws. Others may be invalidated if they are preempted, either by federal laws or by the federal government's control over the field of foreign affairs, or if they violate the dormant commerce clause. However, even those international environmental initiatives that fail or are invalidated may serve the useful function of raising public awareness and energizing citizens to take action.

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