A Dirty River Runs Through It (The Failure of Enforcement in the Clean Water Act)


Victor B. Flatt


Though our environmental legal system is set up in co-operative federalism, which supposedly allows the federal government or citizens to enforce environmental laws if the states do not do so in the first instance, it has a particular weakness. Under the legal doctrines, any enforcement will do, but all enforcement is not created equally. This article does a stastical analysis of two states enforcement records and shows that there enforcement is vastly different. This suggests that the possibility of uniform state enforcement is a myth, leading to problems with environmental protection.


state enforcement, environment, citizens suit, federalism, cooperative federalism, Clean Water Act, Georgia water act enforcement, Washington water act enforcement

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25 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 1 (1997)


COinS Victor B. Flatt Faculty Bio