The First Amendment to the United States Constitution expressly guarantees the right of citizens to petition the government. Citizen efforts have been particularly crucial to the process of creating, shaping, and enforcing environmental laws. Nevertheless, citizen participants in government can often find themselves facing retaliation in the form of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP). SLAPPs are lawsuits brought to interfere with a party's exercise of its right to petition the government, typically by draining the party's time and resources. Although many states have adopted anti-SLAPP protections, similar protections are lacking at the federal level. Because so many federal environmental statutes allow for citizen participation, the threat of a SLAPP is especially high. This Note argues that current federal anti-SLAPP protections are inadequate, and that legislation proposed in 2009 would better protect the right of citizens to petition the government.
Jesse J. O'Neill,
The Citizen Participation Act of 2009: Federal Legislation as Effective Defense Against SLAPPs,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.