OELC Staff Article, “Environmental Enforcement and the Limits of Cooperative Federalism,” to be published in the fall issue of the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum
Laws to protect environmental and human health are not worth the paper they are printed unless they are effectively enforced. While Congress intended federal and state agencies to be primarily responsible for enforcement, legislators also included provisions allowing private citizens to enforce the laws when the government was unwilling or unable to do so. These so-called “citizen suit” provisions, included in every major environmental law, allow “citizen attorneys general” to sue violators in federal court.
However, some courts have erected legal barriers and disincentives to keep Citizen Suits out of the courts and pollution to continue. The courts’ overly strict requirements and misinterpretations of the reasoning behind the law stand to dismantle the foundation of federal environmental law unless changes are made soon.
In its continuing efforts to be a force for change in the development of environmental law and policy, the OEC’s Ohio Environmental Law Center tackles this important issue in its first scholarly law journal article. OEC staff attorneys’ profound analysis of the intent behind these “citizen suit” laws culminated in the article’s recommended call to Congress to fix these barriers and disincentives, and allow environmental laws to be fully enforced.
The article, “Environmental Enforcement and the Limits of Cooperative Federalism,” will be published in the fall issue of the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum (one of the top environmental law journals in the nation).