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Restorative Justice to Supplement Deterrence-Based Punishment: An Empirical Study and Theoretical Reconceptualization of the EPA's Power Plant Enforcement Initiative, 2000-2011


Michael L. Rustad


Suffolk University Law School; Stetson University - College of Law

Thomas H. Koenig


Northeastern University

Erica R. Ferreira


Independent

May 1, 2013

Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 65, p. 427, 2013
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 13-9

Abstract:     
From the late 1970s to the end of the 1990s, electricity producers modified and operated coal-fired power plants in violation of the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) permitting requirements, creating widespread air quality degradation. The EPA’s policy of lax oversight ended in 1999 when it launched a large, coordinated enforcement effort. The 2012 Republican presidential candidates all denounced this more vigilant EPA as engaging in economic terrorism through “sue and settle” tactics that amount to backdoor regulation. This article evaluates federal environmental enforcement, drawing upon objective data from our empirical study of EPA permitting violation settlements for coal-fired power plants entered into between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2011. The data reveals that the EPA’s enforcement policy reflects a unique jurisprudence that creatively combines both deterrence-based punishment through appropriately levied civil penalties and restorative justice principles in the form of mitigation projects and mandatory injunctions. Other regulatory agencies should consider adopting restorative justice insights in designing remedies for diffuse civil wrongs such as securities fraud, consumer product safety, and unfair or deceptive trade practices.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 64

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Date posted: May 3, 2013 ; Last revised: January 7, 2014

Suggested Citation

Rustad, Michael L. and Koenig, Thomas H. and Ferreira, Erica R., Restorative Justice to Supplement Deterrence-Based Punishment: An Empirical Study and Theoretical Reconceptualization of the EPA's Power Plant Enforcement Initiative, 2000-2011 (May 1, 2013). Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 65, p. 427, 2013; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 13-9. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2245136

Contact Information

Michael L. Rustad (Contact Author)
Suffolk University Law School ( email )
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

Stetson University - College of Law ( email )
1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States
Thomas H. Koenig
Northeastern University ( email )
Boston, MA 02115
United States
Erica R. Ferreira
Independent ( email )
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