An Analysis of Legal and Regulatory Mechanisms To Control Interstate Ozone TransportEPA 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) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Environmental Law , Economics and Decision Sciences , Academic Fellowships
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.
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.