George W. Bush's Healthy Forests: Reframing the Environmental Debate / Edition 1

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In George W. Bush's Healthy Forests, Jacqueline Vaughn and Hanna Cortner detail how the Bush administration, by changing the terms and processes of debate, sidestepped opposition and put in place policies that restrict public and scientific involvement in environmental decisions. Their groundbreaking study analyzes the context and legal effects of the Healthy Forests Initiative, Healthy Forests Restoration Act, and related regulatory changes.

The authors show how the administration used news events such as wildfires to propel legislation through Congress. Focusing blame for wildfires on legal obstacles and environmentalists' use of appeals to challenge fuel-reduction projects, the administration restricted opportunities for environmental analysis, administrative appeals, and litigation. The authors argue that these tools have a history of use by diverse interests and have long protected Americans' right to question government decisions.

This readable study identifies the players, events, and strategies that expedited the policy shift and contextualizes it in the president's career and in legislative and administrative history. Revealing a policy change with major implications for the future of public lands and public process, George W. Bush's Healthy Forests will become required reading in environmental studies and political science.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"George W. Bush's Healthy Forests reads like a textbook for political activists, arguing that the most important part of any political strategy is to craft a simple, persuasive message that demonizes opponents while it points to your preferred policy as the only solution to major problems. Vaugn and Cortner note that, having won this battle over forest policy, congressional Republicans have attempted to use the same strategy of blaming environmentalists to promote their agendas on grazing, mining, and other issues."
Forest Magazine

"Vaughn and Cortner argue that the weakening of environmental laws was by design, not a byproduct of budget cuts. . . . The authors argue that the Bush administration succeeded because it cast environmentalists as 'nuts' and 'extremists,' in spite of the fact that many environmental groups have long supported thinning of small trees around communities at the wildland-urban interface."
High Country News

"Cortner's appeals database offers a reality check to the notion that appeals are misused and have contributed to 'analysis paralysis.'"
Forest Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870818202
  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Vaughn is a professor of political science at Northern Arizona University and author of several books on environmental issues, including Environmental Politics and Green Backlash. Hanna J. Cortner, president of Cortner and Associates , coauthored The Politics of Ecosystem Management, co-edited State and Nature, and has held professorships at Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
List of Acronyms xi
Introduction: A Reversal of Fortunes: Reframing the Environmental Debate 1
Issue Definition, Agenda Setting, and Policy Adoption 2
Redirecting Forest Policy: Redefining Processes, Participants, Problems, and Products 5
What Follows 7
1 From Silent Spring to LuntzSpeak: Environmental Policy and George W. Bush 12
Environmentalism on All Fronts 12
Governor Bush and the Environment in Texas 17
Presidential Candidate George W. Bush (2000) 18
The Environmental Presidency of George W. Bush 21
The 2004 Presidential Campaign 34
2 The Right to Object: Historic Landmarks in the Development and Use of Appeals 44
Early Dispute Procedures: 1906-1936 45
Environmental Regulatory Procedures: 1965-1989 46
Regulatory and Legislative Change: 1991-1993 54
Implementation of the Mandate: 1994 59
The Who, What, Where, and How of Administrative Appeals 61
The Legacy of a Stormy History 65
3 Appellants, Strategies, Tactics, and Outcomes 73
Environmental Organization Appeals and Litigation 75
Wise Use Appeals 88
Commodity and Business Interest Appeals 91
Cases with Multiple Appellants 94
Native American Tribal Appellants 98
Government Agency Appeals 100
Individual Appellants 103
Litigation 109
The Complexity of Administrative Appeals 111
4 The Wildland-Urban Interface and the Fire-Appeals Interface 119
Trends Affecting Wildland Fire Policy 122
Data, Rhetoric, and Focusing Events 125
Show Me the Data! 127
No, Show Us the Data! 133
Rhetoric and Focusing Events as Policy Drivers 137
Framing the Wildfire "Problem" 141
5 Reform by Legislation: The Healthy Forests Restoration Act 150
The 107th Congress 151
Changes in the 108th Congress 157
The 2003 GAO Report 159
2003 Congressional Legislation 161
Senate Action 163
Attempts at Legislative Compromise 166
"A Light at the End of the Tunnel" 170
Winners and Losers? 173
6 Reform by Rulemaking 181
National Forest Planning 184
Forest Service Project Appeal Procedures 189
Categorical Exclusions 191
Bureau of Land Management Appeal Procedures 194
Consultation Under the Endangered Species Act 197
The Northwest Forest Plan 200
The Sierra Nevada Framework 203
Conclusion: The Spillover Effect 210
A Return to Rhetoric 211
A Fortune of Reversals 218
Index 227
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