Open for Business: Conservatives' Opposition to Environmental Regulation

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Overview

Since the 1970s, conservative activists have invoked free markets and distrust of the federal government as part of a concerted effort to roll back environmental regulations. They have promoted a powerful antiregulatory storyline to counter environmentalists' scenario of a fragile earth in need of protection, mobilized grassroots opposition, and mounted creative legal challenges to environmental laws. But what has been the impact of all this activity on policy? In this book,Judith Layzer offers a detailed and ...

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Open for Business: Conservatives' Opposition to Environmental Regulation

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Overview

Since the 1970s, conservative activists have invoked free markets and distrust of the federal government as part of a concerted effort to roll back environmental regulations. They have promoted a powerful antiregulatory storyline to counter environmentalists' scenario of a fragile earth in need of protection, mobilized grassroots opposition, and mounted creative legal challenges to environmental laws. But what has been the impact of all this activity on policy? In this book,Judith Layzer offers a detailed and systematic analysis of conservatives' prolonged campaign to dismantle the federal regulatory framework for environmental protection.

Examining conservatives' influence from the Nixon era to the Obama administration, Layzer describes a set of increasingly sophisticated tactics—including the depiction of environmentalists as extremist elitists, a growing reliance on right-wing think tanks and media outlets, the cultivation of sympathetic litigators and judges, and the use of environmentally friendly language to describe potentially harmful activities. She argues that although conservatives have failed to repeal or revamp any of the nation's environmental statutes, they have influenced the implementation of those laws in ways that increase the risks we face, prevented or delayed action on newly recognized problems, and altered the way Americans think about environmental problems and their solutions.

Layzer's analysis sheds light not only on the politics of environmental protection but also, more generally, on the interaction between ideas and institutions in the development of policy.

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Editorial Reviews

Human Ecology
Open for Business offers a crucial supplement to the existing scholarly literature on the evolution of the environmental movement, the influence of conservative ideology on environmental policymaking, the deployment of low-profile strategies for regulatory reform, and the rhetorical shifts of conservatives and progressives alike.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Judith A. Layzer is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of UrbanStudies and Planning at MIT. She is the author of Natural Experiments: Ecosystem-BasedManagement and the Environment (MIT Press) and The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword: Conservative Ideas and Their Consequences vii

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

1 Introduction 1

2 Discerning the Impact of Conservative Ideas 11

3 The Environmental Decade and the Conservative Backlash, 1970-1980 31

4 Ronald Reagan Brings Conservatism to the White House 83

5 Conservative Ideas Gain Ground Under George H. W. Bush 135

6 Bill Clinton Confronts a Conservative Congress 187

7 George W. Bush Advances Conservatives' Antiregulatory Agenda 257

8 The Consequences of a Conservative Era 333

Notes 371

Selected References 471

Index 489

Series List 501

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