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Enforcement Data: A Tool for Environmental Management

January 2006

Citation: ELR 10060

Author: Robert H. Cutting, Lawrence B. Cahoon, and Ryan D. Leggette

Editors' Summary: Information is a key factor in shaping and regulating environmental behavior from various perspectives: that of a stockholder looking into the sound nature of an investment, of a consumer choosing a product, or of a government official determining compliance with law. The authors of this Article set out to identify and collate what they thought would be a significant amount of environmental compliance information available on the Internet that could serve these purposes. In so doing, however, they discovered that while the basic technical infrastructure exists within the current state and federal databases, there are few sources of enforcement information that are truly accessible and useful to the consumer, investor, and even the regulatory community. The authors thus argue for a publicly accessible assemblage of existing enforcement and compliance data from all environmental regulatory agencies. While the data presented below demonstrate what information is available to the public today, more importantly, they serve as a starting point for the eventual goal of providing the public with all enforcement data in an accessible format.

Robert H. Cutting teaches law-related subjects in the Department of Environmental Studies, University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Mr. Cutting received his J.D. from the University of California, Davis, in 1973 and is admitted to practice in California (1973) and North Carolina (1997). He worked with the California Air Resources Board in the early 1970s and has represented many environmental groups, governmental units, and the regulated community. He has also chaired the California District Attorneys Association Consumer Protection Council and has worked on staff to North Carolina legislators. Lawrence B. Cahoon teaches oceanography and limnology courses in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and does research on water quality issues. Dr. Cahoon has supervised water quality monitoring projects and has served as an expert witness in legal actions involving water quality issues. Ryan D. Leggette is a graduate student working in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Mr. Leggette holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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