Concepts, Implementation and Effectiveness
- New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure, Peter De Smedt and An Stas
Chapter 20: Regional environmental enforcement networks in the United States
States in the United States and four adjoining Canadian Provinces have participated in regional environmental enforcement associations for over twenty-five years. The Regional Associations have focused on training, information exchange and networking. The experience of these networks may provide useful lessons learned for other regions that are considering creating similar regional networks to support environmental enforcement. The Associations were founded primarily to help states deal with environmental crimes but have evolved to focus more on administrative and civil judicial enforcement, as the emphasis in many states on criminal enforcement, and perhaps the need for criminal enforcement in the illegal disposal of hazardous waste context, diminished in the late 1990s and 2000s. The Associations remain an important source of in-person training, information exchange and networking but have been challenged by loss of funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as EPA shifted its focus to distance-learning approaches, by the inability to maintain high-level engagement in some member states, by staffing limitations, and by travel restrictions in some states that make centralized in-person training more difficult.
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