Allowing Citizen Participation in Environmental Regulation: An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of Right-to-Sue and Right-to-Know Provisions on Industry's Toxic Emissions

Grant, Don Sherman
December 1997
Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press);Dec97, Vol. 78 Issue 4, p859
Academic Journal
The article investigates the effects of state-sponsored right-to-sue and right-to-know provisions, with focus on toxic emissions. The article also makes an estimate of the amount of toxic substances released into the local environments by manufacturers each year. According to conflict researchers, the success of participatory policies is contingent on the resources they mobilize on behalf of citizens. Policies that emphasize conscious-raising activities and provide citizens perfunctory hearings to act on their new insights will not give citizens any real leverage in their dealings with industrial polluters. Only policies that are conflict oriented, that are supported financially by the state, and that provide citizens with critical resources of information, network support, legal powers, and so on, are likely to motivate businesses to reduce their emissions. This research, thus, tests two hypotheses that follow from conflict on environmental sociology. The first is that states with right-to-sue laws have more success in reducing rates of industrial toxic emissions. The second is that states with significantly funded right-to-know programs have more success than states whose programs are not so funded in lowering rates of industrial toxic emissions.


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