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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

NCER Grantee Research Project Results

An Analysis of Legal and Regulatory Mechanisms To Control Interstate Ozone Transport

EPA Grant Number: U915433
Title: An Analysis of Legal and Regulatory Mechanisms To Control Interstate Ozone Transport
Investigators: Caplan, Christina K.
Institution: Georgetown University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: January 1, 1998 through January 1, 2001
Project Amount: $96,337
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998)
Research Category: Fellowship - Environmental Law , Economics and Decision Sciences , Academic Fellowships

Description:

Objective:

The objectives of this research project are to: (1) determine whether state environmental audit privilege and immunity laws hinder enforcement or encourage corporate audits and voluntary disclosure of violations; (2) compare the effectiveness of these laws with self-disclosure policies; and (3) develop an approach for addressing future controversies between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states over federal environmental program delegation in states with audit privilege and immunity laws. Since 1993, more than 20 U.S. states have enacted environmental audit privilege and/or immunity laws, and several more are considering such legislation. The laws prohibit information discovered during a corporate environmental audit from being used in enforcement actions and/or provide immunity from penalties for violations that are discovered during an audit but are immediately disclosed and corrected. The laws have been opposed by the EPA and environmental groups, who claim that they encourage corporate secrecy and hinder the ability of federal and state governments to enforce environmental laws. Supporters of the laws claim that they are an effective incentive for companies to conduct environmental audits and to voluntarily disclose and correct violations of environmental laws. In several cases, the debate over state audit privilege and immunity laws has led the EPA to refuse to approve delegation of certain federal environmental programs (e.g., Title V Operating Permit Programs) to certain states until amendments to the state audit privilege and immunity laws are made.

Approach:

Federal and state enforcement of environmental laws and regulations before and after the enactment of state audit privilege and immunity laws will be analyzed. The laws will be compared to the self-disclosure policies that the EPA and several states have established to encourage corporate audits and voluntary disclosure of violations. Self-disclosure policies do not provide blanket privilege and immunity, but instead, offer reduced civil penalties and criminal liability for voluntary disclosure. Finally, the controversies that have arisen over the EPA's refusal to approve delegation of certain federal environmental programs in some states with audit privilege and immunity laws will be analyzed.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, environmental audit privilege, immunity laws, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Economics & Decision Making, Environmental Law, voluntary regulations, immunity laws, enforcement, audit policies, regulatory bargaining, Laws, legal and policy choices, regulations, State audit priviledge, corporate environmental behavior

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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