2 Why is environmental policy so controversial? Creates both winners and losersLosers may be interest groups or average citizensLosers may not want to pay costs Example: auto exhaust controlShrouded in scientific uncertainty Example: greenhouse effectTakes the form of entrepreneurial politicsEncourages emotional appeals: "good guys" versus "bad guys"
3 POLITICS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION THEME APOLITICS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
4 I. MAJORITARIAN POLITICS: Distributed benefits, distributed costs A. Gives benefits to large numbers.B. Distributed costs to large numbers
5 II. INTEREST GROUP POLITICS: Concentrated benefits, concentrated costs. A. Gives benefits to relatively small group.B. Cost imposed on another small group
6 III. CLIENT POLITICS: Concentrated benefits, distributed costs A. Relatively small group benefitsB. Costs distributed widelyC. Most people unaware of costs
7 IV. ENTREPRENEURIAL POLITICS: distributed benefits, concentrated costs A. Gives benefits to large numberB. Cost imposed on small groupC. Success depends on people who work for unorganized majorities - Ralph Nader, Rachael Carson
8 The American contextEnvironmental policy is shaped by unique features of American politicsMore adversarial than in EuropeRules are often uniform nationally (auto emissions)But require many regulators and rules, strict deadlines, and expensive technologiesOften government (pro-) versus business (anti-)Example: Clean Air Act, which took thirteen years to revise in CongressIn England, rules are flexible and regional (1). Compliance is voluntary (2). Government and business cooperate
9 The American context Depends heavily on states Standards are left to states, subject to federal controlLocal politics decides allocationsFederalism reinforces adversarial politics; separation of powers provides multiple points of access
11 Figure 21.1: Government Regulation Source: Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report (January 20, 1990), 185, updated with Wirthlin Worldwide Survey.
12 MAJORITARIAN POLITICS: POLLUTION FROM AUTOMOBILES Many people hope to benefit, but many people (anyone who owns a car) will have to pay the cost.When People Believe the Costs Are Low Environmental Impact Statements.When People Believe the Costs Are High Gasoline Taxes
13 INTEREST GROUP POLITICS: ACID RAIN Regions hurt by acid rain (mainly in the Northeast) argue with regions that product a lot of acid rain (mainly in the Midwest) about who should pay.
14 CLIENT POLITICS: AGRICULTURAL PESTICIDES Farmers manage to minimize federal controls over the use of pesticides. Most people are unaware of what foods contain what pesticides or which, if any, are harmful; farmers are keenly aware of the economic benefits of pesticides and are well organized to defend them.
15 ENTREPRENEURIAL POLICIES: POLLUTION FROM FACTORIES Many people hope to benefit from rules that impose costs on a few firms.
16 Entrepreneurial politics gave rise to environmental movement Santa Barbara oil spill, Earth DayLed to the formation of EPA and passage of the Water Quality Improvement Act and tougher Clean Air Act in 1970Two years later Congress passed laws designed to clean up waterThree years later Congress adopted the Endangered Species ActNew laws passed into the 1990sExisting environmental organizations grew in size and new ones formedPublic opinion rallied behind environmental slogans
17 Global warmingEarth's temperature rises from trapped gases in the atmospherePredicted result: floods on coastal areas as the polar ice caps melt; wilder weather as more storms are created; and tropical diseases spread to North AmericaActivist scientists versus skeptics scientistsActivists agree with predicted results and say we should act now, despite scientific doubtsSkeptics say we should learn more before doing anythingSurvey indicates skeptics outnumber activistsActivists have greatest influenceU.S. signed Kyoto Protocol in 1997
18 THEME B - TRANSPORTATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT Much of environmental policy is connected with the nation's transportation system especially to the use of automobiles.
19 At present, the number of cars in use is increasing two times faster than the rate of population growth. The amount of land nationwide devoted to parking lots is equivalent to the size of the state of Georgia. The largest source of toxins in our air is from Motor Vehicles..
20 Majoritarian politics: pollution from automobiles Clean Air Act imposed tough restrictions1975: 90 percent reduction of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide; 1976: 90 percent reduction in nitrous oxidesRequired catalytic convertersStates were required to restrict public use of carsIf auto emissions controls were insufficient- parking bans required, implementation of car pools, gas rationingEfforts failed: opposition too greatCongress and the EPA backed down, postponed deadlinesConsumers, auto industry, and unions objectedLoss of horsepowerLoss of competitivenessLoss of jobsThe Clean Air Act was weakened in 1977 but revived in 1990 with tougher standards
21 Public will support tough laws If costs are hidden (catalytic converters)But not if they have to change habits (car pools)
22 Majoritarian politics when people believe the costs are low: National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)Requires environmental impact statement (EIS)Does not require specific actionPassed Congress with overwhelming supportBut encouraged numerous lawsuits that block or delay projectsPopular support remains strong: costs appear low, benefits high
23 Majoritarian politics when people believe the costs are high Increased gasoline taxesWould discourage driving, save fuel, and reduce smogMost would pay, most would benefitBut costs come long before benefitsAnd benefits may not be obviousEasier to raise gas tax if benefits are concrete, for example, highways, bridges, and so forth
24 Interest group politics: acid rain Source of acid rainBurning of high-sulfur coal in midwestern factoriesWinds carry sulfuric acid eastwardRains bring acid to earthEffects of acid rainAcidification of lakesDestruction of forestsLong-term and some short-term effects are unclearRegional battleEast versus Midwest, Canada versus United StatesMidwestern businesses deny blame and costs
25 Interest group politics: acid rain Solutions and compromiseBurn low-sulfur coal one alternativeEffective but expensiveLow-sulfur coal comes from West, high-sulfur coal is localInstall smokestack scrubbers a second alternativeCostly, not always effective, and leave sludgeBut allow use of inexpensive high-sulfur coalCongress voted for scrubbers for all new plantsIncluding those that burned low-sulfur coalEven if plant was next to low-sulfur coal minePolitical advantagesProtected jobs of high-sulfur coal miners; powerful allies in CongressEnvironmentalists preferred scrubbers; "definitive" solution to problemScrubber manufacturers preferred scrubbersEastern governors preferred scrubbers; made their plants more competitive
26 Interest group politics: acid rain Solutions and compromisePractical disadvantagesFailed to allow for plants that burn low-sulfur coal; why spend money on scrubbers?Scrubbers didn't work wellFailed to address problem of existing plantsStalemate for thirteen yearsTwo-step regulation proposed by BushBefore 1995: some plants could choose their approach; fixed reduction but plants decide how to doAfter 1995: sharper reductions for many more plants, requiring some use of scrubbersSulfur dioxide allowances could be bought and soldFinancial compensation for coal miners who lose jobsBecame part of Clean Air Act of 1990
27 Client politics: agricultural pesticides Issue: control of use and runoff of pesticides; farmers have mostly resisted policy entrepreneurs, with DDT an exceptionEPA efforts to evaluate safety of all pesticidesGiven mandate by Congress in 1972Program has not succeededToo many pesticides to evaluate (1). Many have only long-term effects needing extended study (2). Expensive and time-consuming to evaluateBenefits of pesticide may outweigh harmPolitical complicationsFarmers are well-represented in CongressSubsidies encourage overproduction, which encourages overuse of pesticidesDamage is hard to see and dramatizeThe EPA budget is smallFew pesticides have been removed from the market; only those receiving heavy media coverage such as DDT in 1972Client politics has won out
28 THEME C - ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY WITHOUT PUBLIC INTEREST THE ENVIRONMENTAL UNCERTAINTIES1. What is the Problem?2. What Are Our Goals?3. How Do We Achieve Our Goals.?
29 OffsetsAn environmental rule that a company in an area with polluted air can offset its own pollution by reducing pollution from another source in the area. For instance, an older company that can't afford to pay for new anti-pollution technologies may buy pollution credits from a newer company that has reduced its source of pollution below the levels required by law.
30 Bubble standardThe total amount of air pollution that can come from a given factory. A company is free to decide which specific sources within that factory must be reduced and how to meet the bubble standard.
31 Pollution Allowances (or banks) If a company reduces its polluting emissions by more than the law requires, it can either use this excess to cover a future plant expansion or sell it to another company.
32 Command-and-control strategy A strategy to improve air and water quality, involving the setting of detailed pollution standards and rules.
33 Why is it so controversial? 1. Every policy creates winners and losers.2. Many environmental issues are enmeshed in scientific uncertainty.3. Much environmental policy takes the form of entrepreneur politics - mobilizing decisions with strong, often emotional appeals in order to overcome the political advantages of client groups that oppose a change.
34 THEME D - THE FUTURE ENVIRONMENT - THE RESULTS Evidence indicates that many current environmental problems are intensifying while new problems are continually emerging. Science has been unable to develop workable solutions to most forms of pollution. Such uncertainty precludes the formulation of a coherent public policy. As a result, this is an area where politics will necessarily lag behind technology. Science must define a direction.
35 The results: the environment has improved since 1970 in some aspects Less air pollutionMaybe less water pollution but harder to judgeHazardous wastes remain a problem