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Where Do We Fit In? U.S. Information Disclosure and Hazardous Waste Remediation Laws as Compared With the Policy Suggestions of the U.N. Environment Program

September 2003

Citation: ELR 10694

Author: Joel A. Mintz

In May 2002, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) issued its long-awaited, authoritative report, Global Environmental Outlook 3 (GEO-3).1 This 446-page document, which reflects the work of more than 1,000 scientists around the globe, surveyed the present state of the world's environment and offered provocative policy recommendations for addressing the regional and global environmental problems facing humankind over the next 30 years.

In this Article, I will summarize some critical aspects of GEO-3's analysis, including particularly its integrated discussion of recent global environmental trends, its presentation of alternative "scenarios" for responding to environmental issues and challenges, and the "lessons for the future" that those scenarios suggested to GEO-3's authors, by way of general policy guidance. Following that, I will assay the extent to which two important components of U.S. environmental law: our requirements for public access to and disclosure of environmental data, and our standards regarding the cleanup of misdisposed hazardous wastes, coincide with GEO-3's important suggestions respecting these critical aspects of environmental policy.

The author is a Professor of Law, Nova Southeastern University Law Center, Scholar, Center for Progressive Regulation, Prof. Joel A. Mintz received his B.A. from Columbia University; J.D. from New York University School of Law; and LL.M. and J.S.D. from Columbia University Law School. The author thanks Prof. John S. Applegate for his helpful comments and suggestions regarding an earlier draft of the Article.

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