Controversial Issues in Environmental Policy: Science vs. Economics vs. Politics
Publication Year: 1992
Political disagreement over how the U.S. government has and should respond to national and global environmental problems sets the foundation for discussion in Controversial Issues in Environmental Policy. Kent Portney shows how value disputes have found their way into the policymaking process, pitting the values of science, technology, and economics against the practice of politics. Within this context, the author examines how the American government makes environmental policy--at federal and state levels, as well as their enforcement agencies designed to protect and regulate the environment. A succinct description is offered of the processes followed by federal agencies, especially the processes and problems found in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Portney also discusses legislation, public opinion, implementation, and non-implementation over water, air, and soil management ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The Context of Environmental Policy-Making in America
- Threats to Environmental Quality
- The Clash of Underlying Values in Environmental Attitudes
- Public Opinion toward the Environment and its Protection
- A Summary of the Context of Environmental Policy-Making in America
- Chapter 2: The Role of Government in the Environment: The Policy-Making Processes
- A General Outline of the Policy-Making Processes in the United States
- Federal Environmental Policy Implementation, Enforcement, and Regulation: The Regulatory Activities of EPA and OSHA
- Environmental Policy-Making in the Federal System
- A Summary of the Role of Government in the Environment
- Chapter 3: Public Policies to Protect and Improve the Air Quality of the Nation and the World
- Air Pollution Legislation since 1955
- The Processes of Making Federal Air Pollution Policy
- A Summary of Air Pollution Policy Controversies
- Chapter 4: Public Policies to Protect and Improve the Quality of the Nation's Water
- Federal Water Legislation: A Brief History since 1956
- Protecting Wetlands: Fragmented Policy, Difficult Implementation
- Water Policy and the States: Creative Answers to Some Difficult Problems?
- The Processes of Making Federal Water Policy
- Water Policy in America: A Summary
- Chapter 5: Public Policies toward Contaminating the Soil: Regulating Hazardous Wastes and Toxic Substances
- Federal Hazardous Waste-Related Legislation
- The Policy-Making Processes in Federal Hazardous Waste Management
- State and Local Governments in Hazardous Waste Management
- Controversies in Hazardous Waste Policy: A Summary
- Chapter 6: Controversies in Environmental Policy—Past, Present, and Future: A Brief Epilogue
Controversial Issues in Public Policy[Page ii]
Dennis Palumbo and Rita Mae Kelly
Arizona State University
- Volume 1 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
Science vs. Economics vs. Politics
KENT E. PORTNEY
- Volume 2 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN ENERGY POLICY
ALFRED A. MARCUS
- Volume 3 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY
Government and the Pursuit of Happiness
CARL P. CHELF
- Volume 4 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN EDUCATIONAL POLICY
LOUANN A. BIERLEIN
- Volume 5 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN HEALTH CARE POLICY
JENNIE J. KRONENFELD
- Volume 6 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN ECONOMIC REGULATORY POLICY
MARCIA LYNN WHICKER
[Page iv]To Alexandra
Copyright © 1992 by Sage Publications, Inc.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Portney, Kent E.
Controversial issues in environmental policy: science vs. economics vs. politics / Kent E. Portney
p. cm.—(Controversial issues in public policy; v. 1)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8039-4221-4 (cloth).—ISBN 0-8039-4222-2 (pbk.)
1. Environmental policy—United States. 2. Environmental protection—United States. 3. Pollution—Economic aspects—United States. I. Title. II. Series.
96 97 98 99 00 01 02 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
Sage Production Editor: Judith L. Hunter
Series Editors' Introduction[Page vii]
Public policy controversies escalated during the 1980s and early 1990s. This was partly due to bitter partisan debate between Republicans and Democrats, a divided government in which the Republicans controlled the Presidency and the Democrats controlled the Congress, and the rise of negative campaigning in the 1988 presidential election. In addition, the past decade was a time when highly controversial issues such as abortion, crime, environmental pollution, affirmative action, and choice in education became prominent in the public policy agenda.
Policy issues in this atmosphere tend to be framed in dichotomous, either-or terms. Abortion is depicted as “murder” on the one hand, or a woman's “self-interested choice” on the other. One is either “tough” on crime, or too much in favor of “defendants’ rights.” Affirmative action is a matter of “quotas” or a “special interest” issue. School choice is the means for correcting the “educational mess,” or the destruction of public education. In such an atmosphere there doesn't seem to be a middle ground or a common ground where cooler heads can unite.
[Page viii]The shrillness of these policy disputes reduces the emphasis on finding rational, balanced solutions. Political ideology and a zero-sum approach to politics and policy became the order of the day.
Certainly, there hasn't been an end to ideology over the past decade and a half, as some believed was occurring in the 1970s. Reaganomics contributed to a widening gap between the rich and the poor during the 1980s, which exacerbated partisan debate and further stymied governmental action. In 1992 controversies over health care—both lack of coverage for millions and skyrocketing costs—illustrate the wide gap in the way Republicans and Democrats approach public policy controversies. The Reagan “revolution” was based on a definite and clear ideological approach to public policy in general: eliminate government regulation; reduce taxes; provide tax incentives for business; cut welfare; and privatize the delivery of governmental services. Democrats, of course, did not agree.
This series, Controversial Issues in Public Policy, is meant to shed more light and less ideological heat on major policy issues in substantive policy areas. In this volume, Kent Portney discusses such issues as acid rain, ozone depletion, air and water quality, and hazardous waste. As might be expected, none of these has an easy solution. In 1992, for example, President Bush, alarmed by new reports of more rapid ozone depletion than had previously been estimated, announced a speedup in the phaseout of ozone-destroying chemicals by American manufacturers. He was criticized for delaying so long before he acted and also for not doing enough in his new phaseout policy. But to successfully deal with ozone depletion, as Portney notes, requires action by all industrialized nations. The United States, Japan, and Germany were not terribly enthusiastic about taking action by themselves because it might make them less competitive in the world marketplace.
Portney describes how controversial issues in environmental policy get onto the policy agenda, how policies about the issues are formulated, and the difficulty in implementing such policies. Thus, his coverage goes beyond simply describing the nature of controversial environmental policy issues; he also demonstrates how the policy-making process tries to deal with the issues, for the policy-making process itself often detracts from finding solutions to the vital environmental issues facing the United States as we prepare to enter the twenty-first century.
- Volume 1 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
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