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Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves

Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves: A History of American Environmental Policy, Second Edition

Richard N. L. Andrews
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves
    Book Description:

    In this book Richard N. L. Andrews looks at American environmental policy over the past four hundred years, shows how it affects environmental issues and public policy decisions today, and poses the central policy challenges for the future. This second edition brings the book up to date through President George W. Bush's first term and gives the current state of American environmental politics and policy."A guide to what every organizational decision maker, public and private, needs to know in an era in which environmental issues have become global."-Lynton K. Caldwell,Public Administration Review"A wonderful text for students and scholars of environmental history and environmental policy."-William L. Andreen,Environmental History

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18669-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  5. 1 Environment and Governance
    (pp. 1-13)

    Every society develops particular patterns of relationships between its members and their natural environment. At a minimum, these patterns include acquiring the material necessities of life (food, water, heat, shelter), disposing of material and energy wastes, and protecting people from environmental hazards (fires, floods, predators, diseases). Beyond the minimum, they include attempts to satisfy additional human wants and aspirations: larger populations, material comfort and affluence, urban amenities, political and economic power, a sense of beauty or security, and monuments to religious values or human vanity.

    These patterns differ greatly from one society to another. They differ in part due to...

  6. 2 Historical Context: European Colonization and Trade
    (pp. 14-27)

    The physical environment has been an underlying force in American politics and economics throughout the nation’s history, and indeed since before America was a nation. The colonial period is often slighted in American policy studies, yet it encompasses a longer time span than the American nation has yet experienced since 1776. Generations of people immigrated and settled, lived and died, and used the American environment during that time. Important roots of American environmental policy were laid long before the American Revolution, in a context dominated by the colonial policies of European nations and the survival needs of European colonists. In...

  7. 3 Colonial Precedents: Environment as Property
    (pp. 28-50)

    The colonial period is frequently overlooked in discussions of American environmental policy, but in fact it had great significance for much of what followed.¹ For more than a century and a half before the American War of Independence, British colonists in North America developed patterns of using its natural environment to support themselves and produce goods for export trade, and established both colonial and community policies for governing these patterns. These colonists set the precedents for some modern policies, such as the regulation of wildlife and common rights to navigable waters. More important than most of these specific actions, however,...

  8. 4 The Constitutional Framework
    (pp. 51-70)

    Between 1776 and 1790 the American colonies fought and won a revolutionary war, joined themselves into a loose confederation of independent states, and then strengthened that confederation into a federal government based on a constitution and a bill of rights. These events were shaped in part by the opportunities and constraints presented by the American environment. In turn, they shaped the policies that guided much of the use of the American environment for the following century. The basic legacy of this period and even many of its specific manifestations are still very much visible today.

    Early environmental policies were not...

  9. 5 Land and Transport: Commercial Development as Environmental Policy
    (pp. 71-93)

    Land use in America has always been bound up in issues of public policy. Over 78 percent of the total 2.3 billion acres of the United States was once owned by the federal government, and more than a third of it was federal land as recently as the 1970s, including almost 45 percent of California, 52 percent of Oregon, 86 percent of Nevada, and 97 percent of Alaska (U.S. Department of the Interior 1973, 4, 10).¹ Most of the cities west of Pennsylvania were built on what had been public lands: Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle. The agricultural breadbasket of...

  10. 6 Agencies and Experts: The Beginnings of Public Management
    (pp. 94-108)

    For all the vast government-supported transformation of the American environment that occurred over the course of the nineteenth century, the institutional capacity of government itself to manage or even monitor this process was appallingly limited. Initially the entire business of the government was carried out by just three departments. With respect to environmental functions, the State Department handled land acquisitions through treaties with foreign governments and Indian tribes; the War Department handled frontier security and exploration, and later surveying and construction of engineering improvements; and the Treasury Department handled surveying and disposal of public lands, and the resulting revenues. In...

  11. 7 Public Health and Urban Sanitation
    (pp. 109-135)

    American environmental policy developed in part from the natural resource conservation and preservation traditions, which demanded government action to restrain the destructive effects of market forces on natural landscapes. It emerged at least equally, however, out of the transformation of human settlements from decentralized towns and villages into large-scale urban and industrial regions, and from the resulting need for government actions to protect people from environmental causes of death and disease. In particular, it grew out of the nineteenth-century sanitation movement—an effort by doctors, engineers, and social reformers to provide reliable sources of clean water, control the disposal of...

  12. 8 Progressivism: Conservation in the Public Interest
    (pp. 136-153)

    American environmental policy today involves many federal agencies. Each has specific statutory missions—such as pollution control and protection of endangered species—and specific limitations, as well as a more general mandate to promote harmony between human activities and the natural environment.¹

    At the end of the nineteenth century, however, neither these policies nor most of the agencies now responsible for them yet existed. The General Land Office was responsible for disposal of public lands. The Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for clearing streams for navigation and building levees along their banks for flood protection. A few relatively new...

  13. 9 Administering the Environment: Subgovernments and Stakeholders
    (pp. 154-178)

    War, as historian Richard Hofstadter once noted, has always been the nemesis of the liberal tradition in America (1955, 241–42). The onset of World War I significantly reduced American environmental policy. It redoubled the activist management role of government, but subordinated all other policy goals to the single priority of winning the war. Timber from the northwestern spruce forests, and even from the national parks, was logged for aircraft construction. National parks were used for troop quarters, and domestic environmental programs were put on hold.¹ Wartime propaganda urged frugality in household consumption: “Hooverizing” was a popular term for conserving...

  14. 10 Superpower and Supermarket
    (pp. 179-200)

    World War II plunged the country once again into war mobilization, with pervasive and permanent environmental consequences. All-out industrialization, arguably the most massive industrial buildup in the history of the world, dramatically increased resource extraction and pollution pressures. A continuing postwar boom in material and energy production, fueled both by Cold War military spending and by mass consumption, generated ever-increasing pressure for exploitation of environmental assets at home and worldwide. The “baby boom,” rising middle-class affluence, and the resulting proliferation of car ownership and suburban settlement patterns magnified the demand for materials and energy, but also produced a citizenry that...

  15. 11 The Rise of Modern Environmentalism
    (pp. 201-226)

    Even as postwar economic prosperity and general affluence surged, powerful new political conflicts began to develop between advocates of commodity production and technological transformation of the environment on the one hand, and of environmental conservation and protection on the other. Some of these conflicts were new versions of familiar battles—dams versus natural parks, and logging versus forest preservation—only now augmented by far broader and growing public support for landscape preservation and outdoor recreation. The Sierra Club and the nature protection constituency more generally were rapidly becoming far more than an upper-class California hiking club, and the historical dominance...

  16. 12 Nationalizing Pollution Control
    (pp. 227-254)

    U.S. environmental policy prior to 1970 included over seven decades’ experience in managing the environment as a natural resource base, but almost none in the regulation of environmental quality. Federal management of public lands and waters was well established, as was the federal role in funding major public infrastructures (highways, dams, military technologies, and research and development more generally). Federal economic regulation was also well established: the Interstate Commerce Commission had existed since the 1880s, and the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, and others since the 1930s. All reflected a combination of producer interests and public beliefs that...

  17. 13 Reform or Reaction? The Politics of the Pendulum
    (pp. 255-283)

    The wholesale nationalization of pollution-control regulation in the 1970s was unprecedented in American history, and reflected an extraordinarily widespread popular demand for the federal government to control the environmental damage of postwar manufacturing and urbanization. This demand was amplified and sustained by newly mobilized environmental lobbying groups and strategic lawsuits.

    In effect, the pollution-control laws added a regulatory counterpart to the many federal financial aid programs—“categorical grant programs”—which since the 1950s had provided financial support for highways, housing, wastewater management, urban renewal, and other municipal infrastructure and human services costs. These funding policies had been accepted, albeit in...

  18. 14 The Unfinished Business of National Environmental Policy
    (pp. 284-316)

    The nationalization of pollution control was one historic sea change of the “environmental era” that began in 1970. The larger story of that era, however, was the attempt to forge a more coherent overall environmental policy across the many agencies whose actions affected the environment. As in previous periods, policies shaping other major sectors of the economy that used materials and energy and transformed the landscape for other purposes often had far greater impacts than EPA’s limited regulatory tools.

    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 was one such attempt, as were statutes protecting natural lands, ecosystems, and species. Others...

  19. 15 Environmental Policy in a Global Economy
    (pp. 317-349)

    Until quite recently a book on American environmental policy would probably have ended at this point. It was simply taken for granted in the United States that environmental policy was a matter of domestic policy, and that the United States had the political, geographical, and economic independence to act autonomously in such matters. If international environmental issues were discussed at all, they were considered merely a few exceptions to the rule—trafficking in endangered species, transboundary issues such as Great Lakes water quality and acid rain, protection of whales and ocean fisheries—and peripheral to the mainstream of U.S. environmental...

  20. 16 The Era of Base Politics
    (pp. 350-395)

    The modern “environmental era” began in 1970 with the National Environmental Policy Act, Earth Day, and a decade of sweeping new federal environmental regulatory mandates. It was marked by a set of distinctive features. One was unusually widespread and bipartisan grass-roots support, sparked and repeatedly reignited by public outrage at environmental abuses, amplified and sustained by the mass media. A second was unprecedented support for national regulations as a primary instrument of environmental policy, supplemented by government subsidies and tax breaks as inducements for compliance. A third was a vast expansion of citizens’ rights of direct access to government information...

  21. 17 Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves
    (pp. 396-410)

    In July 1997 the journalSciencedevoted a special issue of more than forty pages to documenting a new and sobering reality: the entire biosphere of planet Earth has now become dominated by human use (Vitousek et al. 1997). In 2005 a far more comprehensive assessment commissioned by the United Nations, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, reached similar conclusions (fig. 30). Over the past fifty years, it reported, rapid and extensive change in human ecosystems has resulted in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth. More land has been converted to cropland since 1945 than...

  22. Chronology
    (pp. 411-436)
  23. Notes
    (pp. 437-478)
  24. References
    (pp. 479-502)
  25. Index
    (pp. 503-515)
  26. Back Matter
    (pp. 516-517)