William H. Rodgers, Jr., Executive Orders and Presidential Commands: Presidents Riding to the Rescue of the Environment, 21 J. Land Resources & Envtl. L. 13 (2001), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/249
Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law
Presidential executive orders are legal and political documents. They are also uniquely personal utterances of the president and the administration. The right words at the appropriate time can motivate and move the human spirit, and they can link this president and this moment to the strongest of ideas. Being personal and tending to the heroic, the executive order can thus be perceived as accomplishing a great public good.
This article will explore the pros and cons of the executive order tool. I will then evaluate a number of executive orders that have impacted contemporary environmental policy. I will conclude by offering my nominees for the Ten Most Influential Executive Orders in the annals of environmental law.