WHEN GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS FROM PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT, PRIVATE CITIZENS IN PRIVATE LAWSUITS NEED TO FILL THE GAP
Across the board, the courts are being called on to stop the worst of the Administration’s attacks. There’s a long, strong history of citizens turning to the courts to enforce environmental laws and regulations when the federal government refuses to do so.
The effectiveness of these “citizen suits” cannot be overestimated. Public Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Project has brought them again and again as a way to hold polluters accountable for turning a blind eye to pollution and environmental destruction. All too often, polluters can create huge costs by dumping toxins and wastes into our water and air, and “externalize” those costs by making other people (like people who breathe or drink water) bear the costs. If a lawsuit makes the polluter have to clean up their operations – to dump wastes responsibly, to treat wastes before dumping them into a river – then they have to “internalize” those costs.
Private lawsuits, by people actually hurt by pollution, can be a critical tool in the fight against climate change.