Abstract

The environmental law revolution has created a new active role for the public in the implementation and enforcement of environmental policy, which rests on three forms of access: access to information, access to the decision-making process, and access to the courts. A prime example is the Endangered Species Act, under which most controversial listings have been initiated through the citizen-petition process rather than by agency action. Citizen litigation has also been required to compel critical-habitat designations and the production of recovery plans. The major hurdles to public participation in the habitat conservation plan process, under which permits are issued that allow the taking of a listed species under certain conditions as long as the applicant submits a habitat conservation plan, are elucidated, and recommendations to preserve citizen participation in this area are proposed.

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