Scrubbing the Books Green: a Temporal Evaluation of Corporate Environmental Disclosure Requirements

Michael J. Viscuso

Through arm-twisting, the federal government has forced corporations to disclose environmental liabilities since the catastrophic mid-twentieth century collision between securities and environmental law. Though their protests were numerous, and the self-proclaimed injustices against them unparalleled, corporations have recently been shoved over a fence onto a side where the grass is certainly greener, though not in the spirit of that adage.

The 2002 promulgation of Sarbanes-Oxley has done much to elevate the paranoia of corporate management, and as publicly backed environmental regulation increases its tenacity for environmental betterment, chief executive officers and chief financial officers are starting to sweat green all over their lO-Qs and JO-Ks.

This note takes the reader on a brief tour of the past, present, and future of environmental liability disclosures, hoping to provide at least the semblance that our federal government has been employing efficient means to protect both investors’ wallets and their world.