Freedom of Environmental Information

Freedom of Environmental Information

Freedom of Environmental Information

Freedom of Environmental Information

Synopsis

The Freedom of Information Act makes most documents held by the American government available to citizens; the National Environmental Policy Act has unique requirements for the collection and disclosure of environmentally-relevant information, and a variety of specific federal environmental statutes mandate reports from business and industry. American environmental jurisprudence is based largely upon the management of this information, but due to longstanding patterns of administrative law and a legal system that enforces information collection procedures rather than the substantive value of the resulting documents, true freedom of environmental information has not yet been achieved in America.

Excerpt

This book explores the intersection between government transparency and environmental law, and seeks to add to the knowledge of both fields by focusing on rarely discussed phenomena surrounding the management of environmental information by government. the American government, thanks to a variety of environmental statutes covered herein, holds vast amounts of environmentally relevant information that could be of great use to citizens concerned about the health of their communities and of the natural world. This information can be made available to the public under the specific disclosure provisions of various environmental statutes, and under the Freedom of Information Act. That statute is not the ultimate arbiter of government transparency in America but has inspired more specific regulations for particular subjects, one of which is the environment.

Ultimately, this book will offer a new focus on rather obscure environmental information regulations that are much less well-known than the Freedom of Information Act, and which can be used by citizens to fight for greater transparency of government-held environmental information, and in turn, greater environmental protection. This book will analyze whether or not those laws have been truly successful in promoting the transparency of environmental information in America.

In response to growing citizen sentiment, by the early 1970s the American government enacted a variety of federal statutes meant to protect the natural environment. the first noteworthy such statute was the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. the National Environmental Policy Act is best known for its requirement of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for any government agency . . .

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