Supplementary Study of Enforcement at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Grant Winner

  • Joel Mintz, J.D., L.L.M., J.S.D. – Shepard Broad Law Center


  • Joseph Harbaugh, J.D., L.L.M. – Shepard Broad Law Center


Award Winners

The goal of this project is to update empirical and historical research I have conducted previously with regard to the enforcement activities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1995, I published a monograph, Enforcement At the EPA: High Stakes and Hard Choices (University of Texas Press) that surveyed major trends, events, and developments in EPA enforcement from 1970 through 1992. In 2003 and 2004, with the help of an NSU President's Faculty Scholarship Award, I did extensive research which resulted in the publication of two major articles examining EPA enforcement from 1993 through the spring of 2004. What I hope to do in the late spring of 2009 is to conduct further research (using the same research methodology as I employed previously) so that I may subsequently prepare and publish an up-to-date second edition of Enforcement At the EPA.

Effective enforcement has long been recognized by scholars to be a crucial aspect of a credible governmental program to regulate business and other entities where their activities affect environmental quality. Where it is successful, sound regulatory enforcement promptly motivates regulated entities to achieve or maintain compliance, removes any economic advantage that non-complying firms have gained over law-abiding competitors by their violations, and deters other would-be violators from failing to adhere to environmental standards.

My initial book and follow-up articles on EPA enforcement have been well received, frequently cited and quoted by other scholars in my field, and used as a course text in a number of universities. If I have ample resources to complete my research, I am hopeful that a second edition of Enforcement At the EPA will play a meaningful part in an ongoing national debate regarding the future direction of public policy in this area.