chapter  7
18 Pages

Public participation

WithMrinalini Shinde, Tsegai Berhane Ghebretekle, Kirk W. Junker

In this chapter, the authors compares how, when, and why citizens can directly participate in various legal cultures when it comes to their environmental concerns. Seen optimistically, effective public participation functions to interject the non-jurist into the legal process. Public participation can also include reviewing the government compliance records for various environmental actors, both individual and corporate, to establish evidence of compliance and the effectiveness of government actions to bring about the same. The comparison between citizen suits and public interest litigation is of consequence because they are both contained squarely within the judicial sphere, providing an opportunity for the judiciary to assess a situation on merits and relevant statutory provisions, theoretically independent of political influence. Moreover, it is usually only affected industry groups or organized citizen groups who are aware of the regulatory comment process just described and can make the types of comments that can change regulators' positions between proposed and final regulations.