Protecting The Environment
As a general rule, environmental law is founded on the idea of protection and preservation of the natural landscape. No one’s business interests are generally held to be above the right of the people to benefit from an unspoiled ecosystem. As such, environmental law is a field in which citizen enforcement suits are common. Citizen enforcement suits are exactly what they sound like – citizens taking the initiative to either compel a certain outcome, or to help ensure a certain ruling is enforced. For example, Chapter 120, Sec. 69 of the Florida Statutes allows a citizen to file a petition to enforce agency action. In other words, if an agency has issued a permit or a ruling – say, a ruling discontinuing construction in an area of wetlands – and has not yet followed up, a citizen may essentially force them to do so by filing a petition demanding the agency enforce the stoppage.
Other common environmental causes of action include air quality and emissions issues, endangered species and habitat disputes, climate change questions, sustainable agriculture disputes, and questions regarding resource permit issuance.