Environmental Problems and Sustainability

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					Environmental Policy and
               Asim Zia
 Introduction to Environmental Issues
        EnvS 001, Spring 2007
 Department of Environmental Studies
       San Jose State University
   Chapter 25 Overview Questions
 What is the environmental policy cycle?
 How is environmental policy made?
 What is the role of environmental law in
  dealing with environmental problems?
 What are the major types and roles of
  environmental groups and their opponents?
 What types of global environmental policies
  and treaties exist, and how might they be
Core Case Study: Rescuing a River

                 Inthe 1960s, the
                  Nashua River was
                  considered one of the
                  nation’s filthiest rivers.
                      Marrion Stoddart (left)
                       used politics to help
                       clean-up the river.

                                       Figure 25-1

 Developing  environmental policy involves
 identifying a problem and its causes, coming
 up with a solution, implementing the solution,
 and monitoring and adapting the solution as
 Democracies   have difficulty dealing with
 long-term, interrelated environmental
     In passing laws, developing budgets, and
      formulating regulations, elected and appointed
      officials must deal with pressures from.
    Principles for Making Environmental
    Policy Decisions: Some Guidelines
   Existing or proposed environmental policies should
    be guided by several principles:
       The humanity principle.
       The reversibility principle.
       The precautionary principle.
       The polluter pays principle.
       The integrative principle.
       The public participation principle.
       The human rights principle.
       The environmental justice principle.
               What Can You Do?

         Influencing Environmental Policy

• Become environmentally literate on issues

• Run for office (especially at local level)

• Make your views known at public hearings

• Make your views known to elected representatives

• Contribute money and time to candidates for office

• Vote

• Form or join nongovernment organizations (NGOs)
  seeking change

• Support reform of election campaign financing to
  increase the influence of ordinary citizens on
  government policy
                                                       Fig. 25-4, p. 595
 Principles for Making Environmental
 Policy Decisions: Some Guidelines
 Most  improvements in environmental quality
  result from citizens putting pressure on
  elected officials and individuals developing
  innovative solutions to environmental
 Each of us can play a leadership role in
  establishing and changing environmental
 Formulating,  legislating, and executing
 environmental policy in the U.S. is a complex,
 difficult, and controversial process.
     Lobbying consists individuals or groups use
      public pressure, personal contacts, and political
      action to persuade legislators to vote in their
     Most environmental bills are evaluate by as many
      as ten committees in the U.S. House of
      representatives and Senate.
                Lobbyists                                                                      Lobbyists

                                                  Lawmaking body
              Special-interest         hearing
                  Public                     Regulating enforcement body
                                                                        Laws and

                                   Legal action                          Legal action
                                  Lawyers                                    Lawyers
                    Environmental                      Courts                           Corporations and
                    organizations                                                       small business
         Laws and
        regulations               Membership

                                                                                                   Fig. 25-6, p. 598

                                Recycle cans,               Donate clothes     Use water,          Use mass
    Purchase recyclable,                          Plant a                                        transit, walk,
        recycled, &             bottles, paper,             & used goods     energy, & other
                                                  garden                       Resources          ride a bike,
environmentally safe products     & plastic                  to charities                          or carpool

                 White            Office of                                Council on
                 House           Management                               Environmental
                 Office          and Budget                                  Quality
           • Overall policy   • Budget                                    • Environmental policy
           • Agency           • Agency coordination                       • Agency coordination
           coordination       and management                              • Environmental impact statements

Dept of Health     Environmental     Department           Department          Department
  & Human            Protection       of Justice             of the               of
                                                                                                of Defense
  Services            Agency                                Interior          Agriculture
• Health      • Air & water pollution                  • Endangered species                    • Civil works
              • Noise                                  • Energy                • Soil
                                     • Environmental                                           construction
              • Pesticides                             • Minerals              conservation
              • Solid waste            litigation      • National parks        • Forestry      • Dredge & fill permits
              • Radiation                              • Public lands                          • Pollution control from
              • Toxic substances                       • Fish and wildlife                     defense facilities
                                                       • Water development

  Nuclear                                                                   Department of
                    Department       Department           Department                           Department of
 Regulatory                                                                  Housing and
                      of State           of                of Labor                            Transportation
Commission                                                                      Urban
• Licensing and • International      • Oceanic and       • Occupational     • Housing          • Airplane noise
regulation of   environment          atmospheric         health             • Urban parks      • Mass transit
                                     monitoring and
nuclear power                        research                               • Urban planning   • Oil pollution
                                                                                               • Roads

                   • Energy policy Department             Tennessee
                   • Petroleum allocationEnergy
                                       of                   Valley        • Electric power generation
                                                                                                             Fig. 25-5, p. 597
   How a Bill
 Becomes a Law
 Individual   citizens
  and lobbyists can
  influence how the
  bill is written before
  it is introduced and
  through subsequent

                 Figure 25-7
        How a Bill Becomes a Law

        House of Representatives                                              Senate

Introduction of Bill by Member                                  Referral to Standing Committee by
We will assume this is an appropriations bill, so                leadership and parliamentarian
the Constitution specifies that it be introduced in
the House.
                                                       Committee Action
                                                       • Possible referral to subcommittee
     Referral to Standing Committee by                 • Alternatives similar to those of the House
      leadership and parliamentarian

                                                                    Calendar placement
 Committee Action
 • Possible referral to subcommittee                     Senate Floor Action
 • Hearings on major bills common                        Alternatives similar to those of the House
 • Committee decisions:                                  include rejection, acceptance, or additional
 Table, Defeat, Accept and report, Amend
 and report, Rewrite
                                                      Conference Committee
                                                      If the Senate approves a bill that is not identical to the one
                                                      passed in the House, a conference committee is requested.
    Calendar Placement                                This committee consists of appointed members from both
                                                      houses who compromise on a final version of the bill. This
                                                      compromise version is then sent to each house for final
  Rules Committee (major bills)
  Hearings to decide whether bill will go to the
  floor earlier than calendar date.
                                                       Back to the Senate Floor
                                                       Bill is signed by Speaker and Vice-President.
 House Floor Action
 • Reading, general debate
 • Second reading                                           President
 • Amendment(s) report to the House                         • Approve
                                                            • Veto
 • Third reading                                            • Pocket veto
 • Passage or defeat                                        • Permit bill to become law without his or her

                                                                                                             Fig. 25-7, p. 599
 Major Environmental
  Laws in the U.S.

 Many of these laws have
 been amended
 (weakened or
 strengthened) since 1969.

                    Figure 25-8
Case Study: Managing Public Lands
   in the U.S. – Politics in Action

 Since the 1800s,
 controversy has swirled
 around how publicly owned
 lands in the U.S., which
 contain valuable resources,
 should be used and

                               Figure 25-4
 Lands
  managed by
  the U.S.
 U.S. citizens
  jointly own
  these and
  other public

          Figure 25-9
 The body of environmental laws is constantly
 evolving through legislation and lawsuits. It
     Statutory laws: passed by legislative bodies.
     Administrative laws: consist of rules and
      regulations, executive orders, and enforcement
     Common law: A body of unwritten rules derived
      from past legal decisions.
            Lawsuits: Loaded Dice
 Environmental    lawsuits are expensive and
 difficult to win because:
     Plaintiff must establish they have the legal right
      to bring the suit to a particular court.
     Too expensive for most individuals.
     Public interest law firms many times cannot
      recover legal fees.
     Plaintiff must establish that they were harmed.
     Statutes of limitations.
 Major Types of Environmental Laws
            in the U.S.
 U.S.environmental laws set pollution
 standards, screen for toxic substances,
 evaluate environmental impacts, encourage
 resource conservation, and protect various
 ecosystems and species from harm.
 Major Types of Environmental Laws
            in the U.S.
 The National Environmental Policy Act
 (NEPA) requires evaluation of the
 environmental impact of an activity proposed
 by a federal agency.
     An environmental impact statement (EIS) must
      be developed for every major federal project
      likely to have an important effect on
      environmental quality.
 Environmental   groups monitor environmental
 activities, work to pass and strengthen
 environmental laws, and work with
 corporations to find solutions to
 environmental problems.
     Non-government agencies (NGOs) range from
      grassroots groups to global organizations.
     NGOs help expose corruption and violation of
      national and international agreements.
 Some  grassroots NGOs use nonviolent and
 nondestructive tactics of protest and
 demonstrations for generating publicity to
 help educate and sway members of the
          How Would You Vote?
Do you support the use of nonviolent and
nondestructive civil disobedience tactics by
environmental groups and individuals?
   a. No. People who commit civil disobedience are
    criminals and their crimes could easily escalate
    into violence and vandalism.
   b. Yes. Sometimes peaceful civil disobedience is
    the only way to bring about necessary changes.
 Many  student environmental groups work to
 bring about environmental improvements in
 their schools and local communities.
     Environmental audits by students reveal that
      most college campuses are major polluters.
     A Yale University study revealed that the school
      emits more greenhouse gases than 32
      developing countries.
  Case Study: Threats to the U.S.
Environmental Legal and Regulatory
Structure – Environmental Backlash
 Threemajor groups are strongly opposed to
 many environmental laws, regulations and
     Some corporate leaders who see environmental
      laws as threats to their wealth and power.
     Citizens who see environmental laws as threats
      to their private property rights and jobs.
     State and local government officials who resent
      having to implement federal environmental laws
      with little to no funding.
 Many analysts believe that environmental
 security is as important as military and
 economic security.
     Some developing nations view the concept of
      environmental security as an agenda for rich
      countries to continue their control of the world’s
      natural resources.
                                          Global Efforts on
                                       Environmental Problems

Good News                                                              Bad News
Environmental protection agencies                        Most international environmental treaties
in 115 nations                                           lack criteria for monitoring and evaluating
                                                         their effectiveness

Over 500 international environmental
treaties and agreements                                  1992 Rio Earth Summit led to nonbinding
                                                         agreements without enough funding to
                                                         implement them
UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
created in 1972 to negotiate and monitor
international environmental treaties                     By 2003 there was little improvement in the
                                                         major environmental problems discussed
                                                         at the 1992 Rio summit
1992 Rio Earth Summit adopted key
principles for dealing with global
environmental problems                                   2002 Johannesburg Earth Summit failed to
                                                         provide adequate goals, deadlines, and
                                                         funding for dealing with global
2002 Johannesburg Earth Summit                           environmental problems such as climate
attempted to implement policies and goals                change, biodiversity loss, and poverty
of 1992 Rio summit and find ways to
reduce poverty

                                                                                    Fig. 25-10, p. 611
 International   environmental organizations:
     Expand understanding of environmental issues.
     Gather and evaluate environmental data.
     Help develop and monitor environmental treaties.
     Provide funds and loans for sustainable
      economic development.
     Help nations develop environmental laws and

           International Environmental Treaties

Problems                              Solutions

Take a long time to                    Do not require full
develop and are                        consensus among
weakened by                            regulating parties
requiring full
                                       Establish procedures
Poorly monitored                       for monitoring and
and enforced                           enforcement

Lack of funding for                    Increase funding for
monitoring and                         monitoring and
enforcement                            enforcement
Treaties are not                       Harmonize or
integrated with one                    integrate existing
another                                agreements

                                                            Fig. 25-11, p. 611
 Earth summits and international
  environmental treaties play important roles in
  dealing with global environmental problems,
  but most are not effectively monitored or
 Making the shift to a more equitable and
  environmentally secure and sustainable
  global society is an economic, political, and
  ethical decision.