• 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.

Developing and Enforcing Environmental Policy
Developing and enforcing environmental policy

Implementing environmental policy is clearly problematic. Almost every principal agency entrusted with enforcing environmental policy has been assailed for not carrying out its mission. Natural resource agencies are often cited for poor care of their resources, giving away valuable goods at below market costs and not fully integrating economic considerations into their decisions, catering to special interests, violating the Constitution by taking private goods belonging to others, and lacking coherent goals and policies. Similarly, the EPA is criticized for poor integration, inept employment of scientific knowledge, incoherent policies defying commonsense, delays, and burdening itself and others with enormous transaction costs.

Such condemnations might seem endemic to policy implementation where there are winners and losers, where agencies are ...

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