• Summary
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Within a federal system, government agencies and regulatory policies can be fractured -- even at odds with each other. National actors share power with their counterparts in states and localities, as do presidents with Congressional leaders, and bureaucrats with judges. Understanding the broad economic and political contexts of environmental policymaking illuminates the motivations behind policy choices of various interested parties, from the National Park Service and the EPA to environmental activists and members of Congress. Rothenberg utilizes basic economic ideas to provide, not only a fresh look at how the U.S. deals with environmental ills, but a way of thinking about policy making in general.

Environmental Policy in Context: Economic Demand, Political Supply
Environmental policy in context: Economic demand, political supply

Not too long ago, swamps and bogs were commonly thought of as smelly, ugly eyesores. The wetlands recognized today as valuable resources for maintaining environmental quality were looked upon as expendable impediments to progress. Most people would have considered anybody draining them and creating economic activity as improving society both aesthetically and economically. Government policy aided wetlands destruction as a means of encouraging economic growth; for example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers routinely filled in swamps. Wetlands in the United States disappeared at a rapid rate, with more than half now destroyed.

But times have changed. For one thing, scientists came to realize that wetlands were extremely environmentally important and ...

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