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Environmental Citizen Suits at Thirtysomething: A Celebration and Summit

31 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2009  

James May

Widener University Delaware Law School

Bruce Terris

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Zygmunt J. B. Plater

Boston College - Law School

Ann Powers

Pace University - School of Law

Michael D. Axline

affiliation not provided to SSRN

David Bookbinder

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Lehner

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Robert F. Kennedy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 1, 2003

Abstract

This compilation article provides a rare behind the scenes glimpse into landmark environmental cases from those who litigated them, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Bruce Terris, Professor Zygmunt Plater, Professor Ann Powers, Mike Axline, David Bookbinder, and Peter Lehner. In 1970, Congress gave citizens the remarkable authority to file federal lawsuits as "private attorneys general" to enforce the Clean Air Act (CAA). Congress intended citizen suits to fill the vast void left by inadequate enforcement by federal and state regulators, and to ensure compliance and deter illegal activity. The approach stuck. Now more than one dozen federal environmental statutes, numerous state laws, and myriad foreign laws allow for such "environmental citizen suits." To commemorate the inception of the first environmental citizen suits, on April 4, 2003, the Widener Law Symposium Journal and the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center, joined by co-sponsors the Environmental Law Reporter, Sierra Club, and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, hosted a conference at the University's campus in Wilmington, Delaware, Environmental Citizen Suits at Thirtysomething: A Celebration and Summit. The conference featured a virtual who's who of leading environmental Law lawyer advocates and law professors. At its core, the compilation is a clarion call for citizen action, and informs how citizen suits propagate democracy, provide appropriate economic feedback to the marketplace, and help make the world a better place for rivers, plants, animals, people of all walks, and generations to come.

Keywords: environmental law, citizen suits, air pollution, clean air act

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

May, James and Terris, Bruce and Plater, Zygmunt J. B. and Powers, Ann and Axline, Michael D. and Bookbinder, David and Lehner, Peter and Kennedy, Robert F., Environmental Citizen Suits at Thirtysomething: A Celebration and Summit (March 1, 2003). Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 33, p. 10721, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1333866

James May (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

Bruce Terris

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Zygmunt J. B. Plater

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
617-552-4387 (Phone)
617-552-2615 (Fax)

Ann Powers

Pace University - School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

Michael D. Axline

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

David Bookbinder

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Peter Lehner

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Robert F. Kennedy

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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