This Note argues that because the public places a high premium on its right to know, Congress should enact a federal statute that prohibits a privilege for environmental audits. A federal prohibition on a privilege for environmental audits will make the state statutes unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. This Note has six parts. Part II provides background on the traditional environmental regulatory regime and the role that the public plays in enforcing environmental statutes. Part III is an analysis of some of the typical state environmental audit privilege laws, including a discussion of the major themes of the statutes. Part IV is a discussion of the EPA Final Policy Statement on Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction, and Prevention of Violations (U.S. EPA's Audit Policy). Part V is a discussion of the public's right to know and how creating a privilege for environmental audits conflicts with the public's right to know. Part VI advocates for the passage of federal legislation that prohibits the use of a privilege for environmental audits, which would leave the state environmental audit privilege statutes unconstitutional and therefore unavailable for use.
Note, Environmental Audit Privilege Laws: Stripping the Public's Right to Know, 49 Clev. St. L. Rev. 539 (2001)