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Measuring Environmental Enforcement Success: The Elusive Search for Objectivity

September 2014

Citation: 44 ELR 10751

Issue: 9

Author: Joel A. Mintz

How best to measure the effectiveness of environmental enforcement is a long-standing question. Recently, EPA stirred renewed interest in how to measure enforcement success. Its Draft FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan suggested a new set of “Next Generation Compliance” metrics. Those “Next Gen” measurements include the number of regulated sources using advanced monitoring technologies to measure their own emissions, the number of enforcement settlements that resulted from or that incorporate advanced monitoring, the number of sectors for which measurable compliance rate strategies have been adopted, and the percentage of facilities that electronically report Clean Water Act (CWA) compliance data to EPA and to authorized states and tribal governments. Although the Agency deleted those measurements from its final FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, the questions they raised remain. In this Article, I will attempt to take a fresh look at the enforcement measurement issue.

Joel A. Mintz is Professor of Law at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center, Member-Scholar at the Center for Progressive Reform, and Elected Member of the American Law Institute.

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