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  • 1 Environmental Science and Policy Chapter 15
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  • 3 Outline: Decision Making Environmental Policy Cycle NEPA and EIS Environmental Law Statutory Law Case Law Administrative Law International Treaties Dispute Resolution Collective Action
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  • 4 DECISIONS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD Adaptive Management A solutions approach designed to test clearly formulated hypotheses about the actions being taken. - Learning by doing or adaptive Management,adopted by natural resource managers - Polices are designed at the outset to utilize scientific principles to examine alternative and assess outcomes.
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  • 5 Wicked Problems Environmental problems tend to be intractable because they are nested within sets of interlocking issues. Often poor match between bearers of costs and bearers of benefits. - No value-free objective answers. Best approach comes from community based planning & often consensus building.
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  • 6 Precautionary Principle Four basic precautionary actions. People have a duty to take anticipatory steps to prevent harm. Burden of proof of carelessness lies within new technologies,process, activity and not the public. Full range of alternatives must be examined by people before using a new technology. Decision must be open, informed, democratic & must include all affected parties.
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  • 7 ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Broad Goals Improve understanding among the general public of natural and built environments and the relationships between human and their environment. Encourage postsecondary students to pursue environmental careers. Environ. Science is highly interdisciplinary and integrates information from many fields of study, how the world works and how we should behave as environ citizens.
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  • 8 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY Environmental Policy - Official rules and regulations concerning the environment that are adopted, implemented, and enforced by a governmental agency. National Policy e.g Clean Air Act. The international Policy e.g Convention on International Trade in Endangered species. Also encompasses public opinion.
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  • 9 Environmental Policy
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  • 10 The Policy Cycle
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  • 11 Political Decision Making Politics as Power Politics is a struggle among competing interest groups as they strive to shape public policy to suit their own agendas. Rational Choice: No policy should have greater total cost than benefits In choosing between policy alternatives, preference should be given to those with the greatest cumulative welfare and the least negative impacts.
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  • 12 Arguments Against Rational Choice Conflicting values and needs are not comparable due to lack of information Few agreed-upon broad social goals (rather benefits on specific group or individual) Policymakers not motivated by societal goals. Large investments create sunken costs Uncertainty drives policy makers toward past. Costs and benefits difficult to calculate. Segmented nature of policy making in large bureaucracies makes policy making difficult.
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  • 13 NEPA National Environmental Policy Act (1970) signed by President Nixon: Authorizes Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) as the oversight board for general environ conditions. Directs federal agencies to take environmental consequences into account during decision making. Requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for every federal project having significant environmental impact on quality of human environment.
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  • 14 EIS (Enviromment Impact Statement) ESI is one of the most powerful tool in the environment arsenal: Every EIS must contain: Purpose and need for project. Alternative to proposed action. Statement of positive and negative impacts of the proposed activities. A final ESI document is often 100s of pages and takes approx 6-9 months to prepare.
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  • 15 ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Laws that govern environmental quality, natural resources & ecological sustainibility. Statutory Law: The Legislative Branch Federal laws (statutes) are enacted by Congress and signed by the President. - After introduction, each bill is referred to a committee or sub-committee for hearings and debate. - Language is modified, multiple bills may be combined, and overall bill is passed on to full committee.
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  • 16 Legislative Branch A bill succeeding in full committee is reported to full House or Senate for a floor debate. - Amendments proposed at each stage. House and Senate versions are often different, and must be sent to conference committee to meld differences. Bill goes back to House and Senate for confirmation. Passed on to President for signature.
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  • 17 Case law: The Judicial Branch Establishes environmental law by ruling on constitutionality of statutes and interpreting their meaning. Legal Standing :First one must determined if participants have a right to initiate an action.
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  • 18 The Judicial Branch Criminal Law - Derives from federal and state statutes that prohibit wrongs against the state or society. Charges always initiated by a government prosecutor. - Guilt or innocence of defendant determined by a jury of peers. - Violation of environmental statutes constitutes a criminal offense
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  • 19 The Judicial Branch Civil Law - Defined by a body of laws regulating relations between individuals or corporations. Burden of proof lies with prosecution. - Guilt or innocence based on whether the defendant could reasonably have anticipated and avoided the offense.
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  • 20 SLAPP Strategic Lawsuits Against Political Participation - Practice of suing citizens who criticize businesses or government agencies over environmental issues. Legal defense costs can be exorbitant.
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  • 21 Administrative Law: The Executive Branch More than 100 federal agencies have environmental oversight. Federal agencies often delegate power to a matching state agency to decentralize authority. They usually have power to set rules,adjudicates disputes & investigate misconduct.
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  • 22 The Executive Branch
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  • 23 Regulatory Agencies EPA - Primary agency with responsibility for protecting environmental quality in US Cabinet-level department. Department of Interior (Natural Resources) National Park Service Bureau of Land Management US Fish and Wildlife Service
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  • 24 Regulatory Agencies Department of Agriculture US Forest Service Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) Revolving door with workers moving back and forth between industry and government.
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  • 25 INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND CONVENTIONS Over past 25 years, more than 170 environmental treaties and conventions have been negotiated initiated to protect our global environment. Unfortunately many of these environmental treaties are vague and many do not comply due to public embarassment. - Most nations unwilling to give up sovereignty. International court has no enforcement powers.
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  • 26 DISPUTE RESOLUTION Arbitration is a formal dispute resolution, based in a trial-like setting. Arbitrator takes a more active role than a judge and is more interested in resolving the disputes than application of the law.
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  • 27 Mediation Mediation is a process in which disputants are encouraged to come up with a solution on their own. Useful in complex issues with multiple stakeholders with different interests.
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  • 28 Collaborative Approaches to Planning Community-Based Planning - Incorporates holistic, adaptive, pluralistic approaches. Collaborative Approaches - Working with local communities to gain traditional knowledge and gain local acceptance of management plans.
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  • 29 COLLECTIVE ACTION Student Environmental Groups Student Environmental Action Coalition Public Interest Research Groups, etc. Mainline Environmental Organization National Wildlife Federation Sierra Club,etc. Radical Environmental Groups Earth First Sea Shepherd,etc, International Nongovernmental Organizations(NGOs) have become powerful aspects of environmental protection.
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  • 30 Summary: Decision Making Environmental Policy Cycle NEPA and EIS Environmental Law Statutory Law Case Law Administrative Law International Treaties Dispute Resolution Collective Action
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