Environmental policy, like economic or welfare policy, reflects the unique
nature of the American political system. Unlike economic or welfare issues, however, environmental issues lend themselves
to entrepreneurial politics, which requires mobilizing the media, dramatizing
the issue, and convincing members of Congress that their political reputations
will suffer if they do not cast the right vote. It is politics in which an unorganized public
benefits at the expense of a well-organized group, such as a manufacturer.
After reading and reviewing the material in this chapter, you should be able
to do each of the following:
- List three reasons environmental policy tends to be so controversial, providing
examples of each reason.
- Describe the role of the American political system and local politics in shaping environmental policy. Contrast these with environmental
policy making in England.
- Distinguish among the following styles of politics in terms of who benefits
and who pays: entrepreneurial, majoritarian, interest group, and client.
- Describe the role of entrepreneurial politics in government's efforts to deal with the issues of global warming and endangered species.
- Outline the major provisions of the Clean Air Act (1970), the Water Quality Improvement Act (1970),
the revised Clean Air Act (1990), and the National Environmental Policy Act
- Describe the role of majoritarian politics in government's efforts to reduce automobile emissions. Explain why majoritarian politics
worked in some cases and not in others.
- Describe the role of interest group politics in government's efforts to resolve the acid rain controversy. List proposed alternative solutions, and outline the terms of the compromise
that was reached by Congress and the Bush administration.
- Describe the role of client politics in government's efforts to regulate the use of agricultural pesticides and timber cutting in U.S. forests.
- Give three reasons why it is so difficult to develop a sane environmental
policy in this country. Provide examples of how the EPA is dealing with these
- Discuss the results of environmental protection measures that have been taken