Archive for March, 2010

The Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, one of the nation’s premiere environmental law journals, has published an article written by the OELC staff in its Winter, 2010 issue. The article, Environmental Enforcement and the Limits of Cooperative Federalism: Will Courts Allow Citizen Suits to Pick Up the Slack, describes how many federal environmental laws are not currently enforced by state or federal governments, making citizen litigation all the more necessary.

The article explains why Congress intended citizen litigation to be a primary tool used to enforce these laws.

“This article represents our fundamental belief that citizen enforcement of environmental laws is critical,” said Trent Dougherty OEC’s Director of Legal Affairs and Director of its Ohio Environmental Law Center. “We hope that legislative recommendations in this article will be implemented, helping make public interest lawsuits more effective,” said Dougherty.

The OELC is currently pursuing several cases in Ohio in which federal laws designed to protect air and water quality are being violated with impunity.

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The Supreme Court of Ohio has accepted OEC’s appeal in the Lake Erie shoreline case, Merrill v. Ohio. The case is an important one because its resolution will determine the meaning of the “Public Trust Doctrine,” and whether Ohio citizens have access to the Lake Erie shoreline. The OEC, and fellow intervenor the National Wildlife Federation, will begin preparing briefs addressing the property law issues in the case.

Additionally, the court denied a joint motion to strike the amici curiae brief of the Ohio Bass Federation and five other sportsmen’s and conservation organizations. Those organizations filed a friend of the court brief addressing the appeals court’s decision to remove the Ohio Attorney General from the appeal. Several parties, excluding the OEC, NWF, and the Ohio Attorney General, filed the motion to strike in hopes of preventing the amici curiae brief from being considered by the justices.

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