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Updated in its 6th edition, The Environmental Policy Paradox provides an introduction to the policy-making process in the United States with regard to air, water, land use, agriculture, energy, and waste disposal, while introducing readers to both global and international environmental issues and institutions. The text explains why some environmental ideas shape policy while others do not, and illustrates that even when the best short- and long-term solutions to environmental problems are identified, the task of implementing these solutions is often left undone or is completed too late. Readers are presented with a comprehensive history of the environmental movement paired with the most up-to-date account of environmental policy available today.
|Publisher:||Taylor & Francis|
|Product dimensions:||6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)|
Table of Contents
PART ONE: THE POLICY-MAKING PROCESS
1 Ecosystem Interdependence
2 Changing Cultural and Social Beliefs: From Conservation to Environmentalism
3 The Regulatory Environment
4 The Political and Institutional Setting
PART TWO: ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
5 Air Pollution
8 Toxic and Hazardous Materials and Waste Management
9 Land Management Issues
10 International Environmental Issues
11 International Environmental Management
Appendix A How We Study Public Policy—Theoretical Approaches Appendix B The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as Amended
The policy-making process described in many public policy and American government texts reveals just the tip of the iceberg. This book, designed for courses on environmental policy, environmental studies, and public policy and as supplemental reading in American government, public administration and planning, and other courses, exposes the rest of the iceberg: the workings of government that are rarely visible but necessary for an appreciation of the formation of environmental policy. It examines U.S. environmental policy in air, water, land use, agriculture, energy, waste disposal, and other areas, and, in so doing, provides an introduction to the policy-making process in the United States.
A paradox is an apparently contradictory combination of opposing ideas. The paradox of environmental policy is that we often understand what the best short- and long-term solutions to environmental problems are, yet the task of implementing these solutions is either left undone or is completed too late. Although this is a general characteristic of policy formation in the United States, it is particularly true of environmental policy. The explanation lies in the nature of the policy-making process. A few broad examples will illustrate the nature of the environmental policy paradox.
Problems of farming and food production in the United States include the loss of topsoil due to soil erosion, the loss of soil productivity, and the overuse of pesti~1des and fertilizers. Although opinions vary, there is strong evidence that a shift to organic farming would increase farm income and reduce soil erosion and nutrient depletion while meeting American food needs and reducing oilimports. Most people who study the matter feel we would be better off in the long run converting to organic farming. However, regardless of the potential benefits of organic farming, the incentives operating on policy makers, which include, for example, the money and influence of the manufacturers of pesticides, make it difficult to make significant changes in U.S. farm policy. That is what we call a paradox of environmental policy.
Energy provides another good example. Although estimates vary as to how long fossil fuels will last, there is widespread agreement that a transition must be made from fossil to renewable fuels. This transition will have a significant impact on our economic, social, cultural, and political lives. The paradox is that today little is being done in the public sector to prepare for this change.
Any examination of environmental policy must begin with a discussion of the setting in which policy is formulated. No simple explanations or definitions can completely convey why or why not a given policy comes into being. Limitations on human comprehension, as well as in the quality and extent of information available, make it difficult to fully understand the cause-and-effect relationships in public policy formation.
This book, nevertheless, provides a basic understanding of why some environmental ideas shape policy while others do not. We describe the formal institutional setting in which environmental policy is developed, the major participants involved, and the political and institutional incentives that motivate those attempting to influence the policy-formation system. Through an understanding of the informal political and institutional incentives that influence policy formation, the reader will be able to see that the system, though complex and uncertain, does respond to appropriate inputs. It is important to know how the system works because only when we understand how the game is played can we affect changes in the system.
The book is divided into two parts. Part One, The Policy-Making Process, provides an overview of how governmental policy is made in the United States. It emphasizes informal and noninstitutional aspects of the process and the incentives in the policy-making process that direct participant behavior. Also, Part One examines the rise of environmentally based litigation in the United States. Specifically we discuss the legal processes that come into play when citizens pursue environmental policy goals in the courts. This in an important consideration because, as we will see, often the courts are the only policy avenue available to groups, like many environmental groups, that lack the resources needed to have influence in other policy-making arenaslike legislative bodies.
Before delving into the policy-making process of environmental policy, however, Chapter 1 introduces ecosystems and the study of ecology, thus setting the stage for the chapters that follow. Good environmental policy is based on an understanding of how the physical environment works. Chapter 1 also provides a general discussion of the interdependence of ecosystems and explains the need to evaluate environmental policy from a multidisciplinary perspective. The complexity of ecosystem interdependence requires, in many cases, an international or global perspective.
Chapter 2 explores the relationship of our dominant social paradigm (those clusters of Western cultural beliefs, values, and ideals that influence our thinking about society, government, and individual responsibility) to environmental policy formation. The chapter also summarizes the history of the environmental movement and public opinion about environmental problemstwo important components of the Western industrial dominant social paradigm.
Chapter 3 examines the regulatory environment in the environmental policy area. This discussion includes an examination of the current regulatory framework in the United States, various regulatory alternatives that have been suggested, and some of the assumptions that underlie current thinking about appropriate environmental regulations.
Chapter 4 examines the institutional setting of the policy-making process. The incentives operating on participants in the process and the role of interest groups are discussed along with advantages certain policy-making participants enjoy when attempting to influence environmental policy. These incentives include the short-term incentives available to policymakers for evaluating policy options; incentives or disincentives in dealing with externalities (i.e., those costs or benefits of a course of action not directly involved in the policy); the status quo orientation of the system; the role of sub-governments or "iron triangles" in certain policy areas; and the incremental nature, in most cases, of policy formation in the United States. Chapter 4 also describes more formal means of environmental control, such as the requirement of an environmental impact statement, or EIS, and introduces the administrative agencies most involved in environmental administration in the United States. Finally, the effects of environmental litigation on the system are examined and the environmental laws governing environmental policies are discussed, here and in Part Two of the book.
In Part Two we examine environmental policy in seven chapters that discuss air pollution, energy policy, solid and hazardous waste policy, land management, international environmental problems, and international environmental management. In each area there are current policies that do not effectively address the problems they were meant to deal with. This is true even though experts are often in agreement about what needs to be done. As a result, the paradox of environmental policy is that the system often produces policies that are fundamentally unable to address environmental problems adequately. We will examine these policies.
It is my hope that after reading this book you will have a better understanding of environmental problems, the system that produced these problems, and what you can do to help produce a better future. There is much you can do when you understand how the system works.