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Environmental Governance

Environmental Governance

The Environmental Governance Programs work to develop inventive approaches to new or entrenched environmental problems and changing technologies and economies. The term “governance” includes the range of legal and other tools employed in both the private and public sectors to foster environmental protection.

Governance tools include, for example, not only traditional regulations, but environmental assessments, information disclosure, market mechanisms, economic incentives, and public policies and programs that promote voluntary stewardship.

ELI’s Environmental Governance Programs operate at the international, federal, state and local levels. Key objectives are to:

  • Develop and foster innovative government and business approaches to environmental protection.
  • Safeguard and strengthen the safety net of federal environmental law.
  • Introduce policymakers and practitioners to innovative ideas from academia.
  • Educate judges about the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws.
  • Develop effective environmental, health, and safety governance structures for new technologies.


What’s New and Upcoming....

The report Subsidies with Responsibilities: Placing Stewardship and Disclosure Conditions on Government Payments to Large-Scale Commodity Crop Operations recommends that large-scale commodity crop operations that opt to receive any form of federal farm subsidy, including subsidized crop insurance, be assigned responsibility for: putting in place basic measures to reduce water pollution from fertilizer runoff; and disclosing information to the public about the quantity, type, and timing of fertilizers they apply. Runoff from the production of major commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat can contribute significantly to downstream water pollution. Many farming operations already implement stewardship measures, yet nutrient pollution remains a significant national problem.


Enforcement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the District of Columbia Department of the Environment (DDOE)

ELI recently worked with DDOE to develop new and update and revise existing enforcement SOPs. Each SOP contains a step-by-step process for performing a specific task, which can help ensure that staff systemically follow agency procedures. Most state agency programs have written procedures, but up-to-date and well-thought-out SOPs provide a road map for staff from beginning to end and can improve efficiency and effectiveness. SOPs can help to: 

  • Strengthen and support the legal defensibility of enforcement cases by, for example, providing specific instructions on how to properly enter a facility, show credentials, conduct interviews, and collect evidence; 
  • Improve the professionalism of agency employees and the agency's image in the community by providing detailed procedures to follow in dealing with the public and regulated entities; 
  • Educate new employees about the proper procedures for performing their jobs and re-train current employees; and 
  • Demonstrate to U.S. EPA that the agency is performing delegated duties effectively and consistently.


Column: Embracing Technology

In the November/ December 2013 issue of The Environmental Forum, a column by ELI Senior Attorney Linda Breggin examines the role of information and data gathering technologies in updating and improving environmental programs. 


Entering the Marketplace: Public & Private Product Regulation at Home and Abroad 

This four-part webinar series will enhance your understanding of the complex range of legal, regulatory, product stewardship, standard setting, and private retailer initiatives influencing the marketing, distribution, and sale of products with significant chemical components. Participants will also develop a greater understanding of chemical regulation in the U.S. and abroad and future policy and directional changes.

Webinar #1: The Regulatory Structure of Products (Wednesday, November 13)

Webinar #2: Setting Standards Beyond Regulations (Tuesday, November 19)

Webinar #3: Bringing a Product to the Marketplace (Wednesday, December 4)

Webinar #4: Product Marketing (Thursday, December 12)