Environmental law and constitutional law have shaped each other in profound ways.
This is not surprising, given environmental law’s intimate connection with the regulation of private property rights. It not surprising for another reason: a major part of environmental law, especially public environmental law, can be thought of as a species of administrative law. As such, environmental law problems often directly touch and concern fundamental issues such as the structure of government, the respective powers and duties of the major branches of government, and the powers and limits on governmental agencies.
In North Carolina, there is an even more direct connection: the state Constitution itself provides support for environmental protection, as a result of an amendment that passed overwhelmingly in 1972. But the exact scope and meaning of the N.C. Constitution’s statement of environmental rights remains unclear, over forty years after it was passed as a constitutional amendment.