AP Environmental
Science
Mr. Grant
Lesson 10
Environmental Policy: Decision
Making And Problem Solving
Environmental Policy: An
Overview
&
U.S. Environmental Policy
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Objectives:
• Define the term environmental impact statement (EIS).
• Describe environmental policy and assess its societal context.
• Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental policy and
recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Define the term environmental impact
statement (EIS).
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - A report of the results
from detailed studies that assess the potential effects on the
environment that would likely result from development projects or
other actions undertaken by the government or business.
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Describe environmental policy and assess its
societal context.
Policy is a tool for decision making and problem solving that
makes use of information from science and values from ethics
and economics.
Policy = a formal set of general plans and principles to
address problems and guide decision making
Public policy = made by governments
-
Laws, regulations, orders, incentives, and practices
-
Intended to advance societal welfare
Environmental policy = pertains to human interactions
with the environment
-
Regulates resource use or reduces pollution
-
To promote human welfare and/or protect resources
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Describe environmental policy and assess its
societal context.
• Science, ethics, and economics help formulate
policy
• Science = provides information and analysis
• Ethics and economics = clarify how society can
address problems
• Government interacts with citizens, organizations,
and the private sector
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Describe environmental policy and assess its
societal context.
Environmental policy aims to protect natural resources and
environmental amenities from degradation or depletion and to
promote equitable treatment of people. It addresses the
tragedy of the commons, free riders, and external costs.
Tragedy of the commons = commonly held resources will become
overused and degraded
- Best prevented by oversight and regulations
Free riders = reducing pollution tempts people to cheat
- Private voluntary efforts are less effective than efforts
mandated by public policies
External costs = harmful impacts of market transactions are borne by
people not involved in the transaction
- Polluter pays principal = polluters cover costs of impacts
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Describe environmental policy and assess its
societal context.
Many factors hinder environmental policy
• Why are environmental laws challenged, ignored, and
rejected by citizens and policymakers?
• Environmental policy involves government regulations
- Property owners and businesspeople think
regulations are inconvenient and cause economic
loss
• Problems develop gradually and over the long term
- Human behavior is geared toward short-term needs
- Businesses opt for short-term economic gain
- News media have short attention spans
- Politicians act out of short-term interest
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
The legislative, executive, and judicial branches, together
with administrative agencies, all play roles in U.S.
environmental policy.
-
Legislative branch = Congress creates statutory law
-
Executive branch = enacts or vetoes legislation
-
Judicial branch = interprets laws
-
Administrative agencies = the “fourth branch”
•
Laws are implemented and executed by agencies
•
A source of policy through regulations
•
Monitor and enforce compliance
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
State and local governments also implement environmental
policy.
- States, counties, and municipalities also generate environmental
policies
- California, New York, and Massachusetts have strong
environmental laws
- State laws cannot violate principles of the U.S. Constitution
California state and local
agencies help regulate the
impact of the International
Wastewater Treatment Plant
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
The concept of regulatory taking arises from the Fifth
Amendment.
-
Fifth Amendment = takings clause
• Bans the literal taking of private property
• Also bans regulatory taking, which deprives a property
owner of economic uses of the property
• In 1992 the Supreme Court ruled that a
state law intending to prevent serious
public harm violated the takings clause
• Lucas, a land developer, was allowed
to build homes on beachfront property
- Although a state agency
had prohibited
construction on the
property
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
U.S. environmental policy came in three waves. The first
promoted frontier expansion and resource extraction. The
second aimed to mitigate impacts of the first through
conservation. The third targeted pollution and gave us many
of today’s major environmental laws.
- From 1780s to the late 1800s, promoted settlement and extraction
of resources
- People believed land was infinite and inexhaustible
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s
Homestead Act (1862) = anyone could buy or settle on
160 acres of public land
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s
General Mining Act (1878) =
people could mine on public
land for $5/acre with no
government oversight
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s
Timber Culture Act (1873) = 160 acres to anyone promising
to plant trees on 25% of that land
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
U.S. environmental policy came in three waves. The first
promoted frontier expansion and resource extraction. The
second aimed to mitigate impacts of the first through
conservation. The third targeted pollution and gave us
many of today’s major environmental laws.
• Public perception and government policy shifted
-
Mitigated problems caused by westward expansion
• Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, opened
in 1872
- Also, national wildlife refuges, parks, and forests
• Understood that the West’s resources were exhaustible
- They required legal protection
• Land management policies addressed soil conservation
• The 1964 Wilderness Act preserves pristine land
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
U.S. environmental policy came in three waves. The first
promoted frontier expansion and resource extraction. The
second aimed to mitigate impacts of the first through
conservation. The third targeted pollution and gave us
many of today’s major environmental laws.
• Mid-to late-20th century people were better off economically
- But lived with dirtier air, dirtier water, and more waste and
toxic chemicals
• Increased awareness of environmental
problems shifted public priorities
and policies
• MostCarson’s
Americans
support
Rachel
Silent
Spring
(1962)
The
Cuyahoga River
was
so polluted
environmental
protection.
Millions
described
the
ecological
and
health
that it caught fire in the 1950s and
of people
celebrate
Day
effects
of pesticides
andEarth
chemicals
1960s
each April
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
Some major U.S. laws include
the National Environmental
Policy Act, the Clean Air Act,
and the Clean Water Act.
• The National Environmental
Policy Act (1970) - Requires an
Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) for any federal action that
might significantly impact the
environment
• Significant environmental laws
were the result of the public
demand for a cleaner
environment and support of
tougher environmental
legislation
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
Identify the institutions important to U.S. environmental
policy and recognize major U.S. environmental laws.
Currently, a fourth wave of environmental policy, occurring
internationally, may be building around sustainable
development and addressing global climate change.
•
•
Other nations have increased attention to issues
-
The 1992 Earth Summit
-
The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development
This fourth wave of policy focuses on sustainability
-
Safeguarding ecosystems
while raising living standards
Climate change dominates much
discussion on environmental policy
© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.
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