• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

A Brief History of U.S. Environmental Policy
A brief history of U.S. environmental policy

Chapters 1 and 2 cover several basic propositions about environmental policy. Thematically, both societal demand for higher environmental quality and the fragmented nature of political institutions explain much of the production of U.S. environmental policy. Analytically, there are theoretical justifications for government intervention and creation of an environmental policy—which are accepted even among many of those who harbor suspicions toward political interference with the free market.

Given the contentions about demand and supply and the prima facie case for political intervention, what stance has the government taken in regard to the environment? The present chapter addresses this question by providing a brief history of environmental policy, emphasizing the period up to the creation ...

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