This article suggests that, as an antidote to the ever-tightening restrictions on individual environmental standing, a state may charter a not-for-profit corporation organized to protect a particular environmental resource, giving the corporation a non-exclusive portion of the State's interest in enforcing applicable environmental protections. The dichotomy between not-for-profit organizations that may litigate only as the representative of individual members' interests, and business corporations that assert their own direct economic interests, may seem natural to our late-twentieth-century sensibility, but is not founded in original intent. The framers of Article III, which grants jurisdiction over “cases and controversies” to the federal courts, would have seen the latter day business corporation as something of an oddity. Most incorporated entities during the eighteenth century were religious institutions, municipalities, and government franchisees. In fact, the now ubiquitous business corporation did not become commonplace until the early nineteenth century, as government franchise corporations expanded to include incorporation of private businesses. To the framers, then, the concept of a corporate entity asserting community interests in natural resources on its own behalf would have been no more alien than the concept of a corporate entity asserting private business interests.
Karl S. Coplan, Direct Environmental Standing for Chartered Conservation Corporations, 12 Duke Envtl. L. & Pol’y F.183 (2001), available at http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/360/.