The Next Generation of Regulatory Compliance

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A new book by a leading environmental regulator argues for creating rules that better facilitate industry compliance.

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A chasm exists between regulatory objectives and how well regulations perform in the real world, argues Cynthia Giles in her new book, Next Generation Compliance: Environmental Regulation for the Modern Era. Giles, a senior policy advisor and former high-level environmental enforcement official in the United States, advocates a “reality-grounded rule design” that seeks to help regulators—particularly, environmental regulators—achieve higher levels of efficacy and efficiency by improving regulatory compliance.

Noncompliance with environmental regulation runs rampant, Giles notes early on in her book. And such noncompliance has real and widespread impacts: many areas of the country experience high levels of air pollution, contaminated drinking water, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and other “avoidable environmental catastrophes” with long term and severe health, ecological, and economic damages.

But how best to promote compliance? Throughout her book, Giles discusses various pathways to improved regulatory compliance. Building compliance into rule-writing processes, emphasizing simplicity in regulatory design, adapting flexibly to new technologies, and updating regulators’ understanding of how federalism affects regulatory outcomes are all examples of ways that Giles argues for a new regulatory generation.

The Regulatory Review invited a group of policy experts, including Giles herself, to comment on the book, Next Generation Compliance, and its overarching message. In this series, contributors highlight how environmental compliance programs ought to work with technological advancements, how improvements in regulatory governance can improve environmental compliance, how enforcement and evaluation can drive compliance, and what the possible limitations of next-gen compliance might be.

This series features contributions from: Cary Coglianese of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; John C. Cruden of Beveridge & Diamond PC; Cynthia Giles, former Assistant Administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Jay Shimshack of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia; and Rena Steinzor of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Readers interested in pursuing Giles’s ideas about regulatory compliance further can download a free copy of her book.

What Carbon Offsets Tell Us About Why Environmental Programs Fail

December 18, 2023 | Cynthia Giles, author of Next Generation Compliance

Carbon offsets exemplify the challenges in creating effective environmental compliance programs.

A Modern Classic on Regulatory Compliance

December 18, 2023 | Cary Coglianese, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Cynthia Giles has written a book that deserves to be read by all regulatory practitioners and scholars.

Next Generation, Enforcement, and the Future

December 19, 2023 | John C. Cruden, Beveridge & Diamond PC.

The next generation of compliance will be advanced by both public and private governance.

Blind Spots in Environmental Enforcement

December 20, 2023 | Rena Steinzor, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Five conditions have stunted EPA’s efforts to improve enforcement capabilities.

Next Generation Compliance and Evidence-Based Policy

December 21, 2023 | Jay Shimshack, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia

Next Gen innovation must be paired with traditional enforcement and formal evaluation mechanisms to work effectively.

The Promise of Next Generation Compliance

December 22, 2023 | Cynthia Giles, author of Next Generation Compliance

“Next Gen” thinking is fundamentally optimistic that we have the tools to improve regulatory compliance if only we decide to use them.