Environmental Policy - official rules and regulations concerning the environment that are adopted, implemented, and enforced by a governmental agency as well as public opinion about environmental issues
The Precautionary Principle –when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not yet fully established scientifically.
Administrative Law - rises from executive orders, administrative rules and regulations, and enforcement decisions in which statutes passed by the legislature are interpreted in specific applications and individual cases
Until the 1960s, everyone was free to do as he wished on his own property.
Environmental movement and oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA in 1969 mobilized public opinion allowing passage of 27 federal laws for environmental protection in the 1970s
After introduction, each bill is referred to a committee or sub-committee with jurisdiction over the issue for hearings and debate
The public often has an opportunity to testify.
The bill’s language is modified, multiple bills may be combined, and then the overall bill is passed on to the full committee for a vote when the bill is considered widely acceptable to the full house or senate.
Two types of legislation: 1) authorizing bills become law 2) appropriations provide funds
Legislators who cannot gain enough votes to pass projects through regular channels, will often try to add authorizing amendments (riders) into un-related funding bills that they know will pass (e.g. money for veterans).
Industry groups may use this tactic to roll back environmental protections.
Agency rule making can be informal, in which case interested parties can submit comments, or formal in which case a public hearing is held with witnesses and testimony.
Executive orders can come from the President but change with politics.
Clinton ordered protection for 90 million acres of nature preserves. On Bush’s first day in office, he suspended 60 regulations of Clinton’s administration and soon ordered overhaul of environmental laws to ease restrictions and promote development.
Wicked Problems – Many environmental problems are called wicked because they have no simple right or wrong answers, but are intractable problems because they are nested within sets of interlocking issues
Often there is a poor match between bearers of costs and bearers of benefits
Adaptive Management - A solutions approach designed to test clearly formulated hypotheses about the actions being taken
“ Learning by Doing” - monitor results of initial decision and change if need be