Private action against polluters as a deterrent to the degradation of the environment
Private action against polluters is often regarded as one of the possible deterrents to the degradation of the environment. This belief is based on the assumption that these lawsuits will prompt companies to improve their environmental performance. In turn, it is possible to argue that private actors cannot be regarded as an effective safeguard against possible threats to the environment because private citizens will have to struggle with such difficulties as the cost of legal action and the burden of proof.
Secondly, the protection of the environment cannot be reduced only to the private interests of citizens. For instance, the quality of air is related to the welfare of the entire public. These are the main problems that should be considered by policy-makers who attempt to limit the destruction of the natural environment and protect people’s health.
To explain the limitations of private action, one should first mention that individuals, who file a lawsuit against polluters, should bear the burden of proof. This means that they should provide evidence indicating that the defendant did cause harm to the plaintiff (Friedman, 2009, p. 141). The main difficulty is that in many cases, it is difficult to demonstrate that the activities of an enterprise resulted in the damages to the plaintiff.
It is necessary to conduct that the collection and analysis of data that can prove that the accusations of the plaintiff are justified. This activity can be both expensive and time-consuming. It is why private citizens cannot always afford the cost of private legal action against polluters.
This issue is particularly relevant if one speaks about possible conflicts between companies and individuals plaintiffs. Moreover, one should keep in mind that legal actions can last for several years, but during this period the party, which is responsible for pollution, can continue their practices for a long time. It is one of the details that should be taken into consideration by public administrators.
Moreover, very often a person will have to spend a significant amount of costs to track down the party or parties that are responsible for the pollution (Boaz. 2009, p. 464). Therefore, the amount of reimbursement may not justify these efforts (Boaz. 2009, p. 464). For instance, the owner of a lake, who discovers a fertilizer runoff, may have to deal with thousands of farmers (Boaz. 2009, p. 464). So, this person may not even identify a possible defendant.
Additionally, policy-makers should take into account that private action can be settled out of the court (Boaz. 2009, p. 464). In turn, the polluters may not necessarily change their practices, and in the long term, they can pose even greater harm to many people (Friedman, 2009, p. 141). In other words, various threats to the environment will not necessarily be eliminated as quickly as possible. This is the main limitation of this strategy.
Admittedly, one cannot dismiss the importance of private action because polluters are more likely to be more careful if they know about the risk of a lawsuit. For example, even large organizations are face lawsuits from a great number of citizens. However, it cannot be the only deterrent to the degradation of the environment. Therefore, it is necessary to promote environmental sustainability through legislation. Oy is the main argument that can be put forward.
The response of Texas to the regulations of Federal Regulatory Agencies
Several requirements are placed by Federal Regulatory Agencies. In particular, the management of hazardous waste is regulated in the RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act). This legal act implies that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate the management of hazardous waste at various stages of the production process, such as the generation of hazardous chemicals, their transportation, and disposal.
Moreover, this bill affected organizations that use hazardous chemicals (Norwine, 2005). Texas responded in several ways to the mandates set by the federal agencies. For instance, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) established new standards for the design and location of landfills (Norwine, 2005, p. 181). These steps are important because very often the functioning of landfills was unregulated. This lack of regulation increased the risk of groundwater contamination. It is one of the responses given by Texan legislators to meet the standards set by federal agencies.
Furthermore, one should speak about different pollution prevention programs. First of all, TNRCC encourages citizens to report cases of illegal dumping (Norwine, 2005, p. 181). This policy is helpful for the identification of possible threats and malpractices of manufacturing businesses. Furthermore, Texan legislators adopted the Waste Reduction Policy Act (WRPA). This legal action is aimed at raising the environmental performance standards for facilities that use hazardous materials. For instance, the organizations are obliged to work out a pollution prevention plan (Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, 2013).
Furthermore, these organizations should explain what kind of steps they take to reduce or eliminate pollution (Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, 2013). This approach is important for identifying those businesses which are more likely to violate the norms regulating the storage or transportation of hazardous materials. It is one of the details that can be identified. Moreover, the government provides incentives to businesses that use equipment that can reduce pollution. Moreover, some awards are given to businesses that reduce the amount of pollution. In this way, legislators attempt to provide an incentive to adopt eco-friendly technologies. It is the main advantage of this approach.
Moreover, TNRCC has adopted specific rules that are related to the supervised cleanups of facilities in which hazardous materials are stored. One should also speak about regulations on the storage of various chemicals such as petroleum. The rules are also important for reducing various risks because, in many cases, the pollution of the environment can be explained by carelessness or lack of safety procedures that should be adopted in the workplace. So, this strategy is based on the premise that prevention is more helpful for the protection of the natural environment. It is one of the details that can be singled out.
These examples are important for showing that Texas was able to respond to the mandates of the Federal Regulatory Agencies. The steps taken by the legislators are important for reducing various risks to the environment. These regulations prompt businesses to improve their practices of companies that use materials that can pose a threat to the health of people or the environment. Moreover, these policies should empower citizens who should have an opportunity to report possible malpractices of other individuals or companies. These are the main issues that can be distinguished.
Boaz, D. (2009). Cato Handbook For Policymakers: 7th Edition. Washington, D. C.: Cato Institute.
Friedman, J. (2009). Constitutional Law. Bosten, MA: Aspen Publishers Online.
Norwine, J. (2005). Water for Texas. Austin TX: Texas A&M University Press.
Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. (2013). About the Waste Reduction Policy Act. Web.