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This essay is the invited foreword to the 2017 J.B & Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium issue of the George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law. The 2017 symposium was dedicated to the issue of private environmental governance. This essay recognizes the incredible growth of private environmental governance as an area of study in the legal academy. In addition to introducing the various contributions to the symposium issue, this essay proposes that rather than merely studying "private environmental governance" as an independent concept, scholars should look closely at the individual components, "private," "environmental," and "governance," to better understand the direction of the field and to give it a more complete theoretical grounding.