Private Enforcement of Federal Environmental Law
While the role of nongovernmental organizations in environmental policy is growing rapidly, our analytical understanding of the causes and consequences of this emerging role has not kept pace. In the 1970s, Congress authorized private organizations to seek injunctions (and in some cases penalties) against firms violating the terms of their environmental operating permits. The economic models in this paper show how the varying remedies, limitations, and reimbursement procedures can affect both the level and patterns of litigation activity as well as the compliance consequences. A database containing information on 1,205 cases is used to infuse empirical content into the analysis.