Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Environmental Defense
ETC Group
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
State Public Interest Research Groups
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


NAFTA’s Environmental Watchdog
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is a tri-national organization that serves as NAFTA’s environmental watchdog. Created by the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a NAFTA side agreement, CEC seeks to "address regional environmental concerns, help prevent potential trade and environmental conflicts, and to promote the effective enforcement of environmental law."

Of particular note, the CEC has established a citizen-initiated process for enforcing environmental regulations. The "Citizen Submissions on Enforcement Matters" mechanism is triggered when a person submits "to CEC a claim alleging...a failure on the part of any of the NAFTA partners" to effectively enforce their environmental laws. "Following a review of the submission, the CEC may investigate the matter and publish a factual record of its findings, subject to approval by the CEC Council."

Recently, a coalition of NGOs including Ecojustice, formerly the Sierra Legal Defense Fund, "allege that the governments are undermining the CEC by obstructing its investigations and severely limiting their scope." An NGO official claimed "increasingly blatant government interference in the operations of this important environmental watchdog."

Free trade is essential to economic and environmental health throughout the Americas. An effectively operating watchdog is an important component of NAFTA and could help promote further increases in free trade. To bolster its own effectiveness and public confidence in the citizen petition process, CEC should adopt Data Quality guidelines, similar to OMB’s, which provide objective, manageable standards for evaluating complaints.

See CEC homepage

See CEC Citizen Submissions on Enforcement Matters Guidelines

See Ecojustice Press Release

See Data Quality Guidelines

CRE Homepage