When environmentalists feel the government isn’t doing enough to clamp down on polluters, they often turn to ligation, filing suit to bring about change. The courts have been a tool for environmentalists to secure victories in all areas, from regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to more strict implementation of waste cleanup standards. Citizen suits are a common route. But some believe that trying these issues in court take too much time, cost too much money to litigate and can hinder progress. This week’s readings provide a brief overview of the history of environmental lawsuits and highlight a noteworthy case. How can journalists make sense of the complicated court system to provide information that’s most helpful to readers? Do you feel they’re doing a good job in this area? Or could more be done to better simplify and explain the issues? Do you think environmentalists are too quick to bring lawsuits and push for onerous demands? Let’s hear your thoughts on this, and the role that journalists have to play in covering environmental cases.
Here’s an article about the role litigation played in the BP oil spill: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/o/oil_spills/gulf_of_mexico_2010/index.html?8qa
And here are some thoughts to ponder when covering environmental litigation:
Here’s a paper written by one of our guest speakers: