Officious Intermeddlers or Citizen Experts? Petitions and Public Production of Information in Environmental Law

69 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2009 Last revised: 10 Mar 2010

See all articles by Eric Biber

Eric Biber

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Berry J Brosi

Emory University

Abstract

Commentators have bemoaned the role that petitions and citizen suits play in driving the regulatory agendas for environmental agencies. The argument is that these forms of public participation frequently distract agencies from the priorities that experts believe should be the focus of regulatory efforts. Using data from the listing of species for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, we examine whether petitions and citizen suits result in suboptimal agenda setting by agencies. We find that petitions and litigation result in the identification of species that are at least as deserving of protection under the Act as the species identified by the agency. Our results raise the possibility that public participation, by collecting diffuse information about environmental conditions, might help improve the performance of environmental agencies.

Suggested Citation

Biber, Eric and Brosi, Berry J, Officious Intermeddlers or Citizen Experts? Petitions and Public Production of Information in Environmental Law. UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 1432652, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1432652 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1432652

Eric Biber (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Berry J Brosi

Emory University ( email )

Mathematics Center
400 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-4252 (Phone)
404-727-4448 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.envs.emory.edu/faculty/brosi.html

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