The United States Congress appears to be in perpetual gridlock on environmental policy, notes Sara Rinfret, editor of the significant collection, Who Really Makes Environmental Policy? As she and her contributors explain, however, most environmental policy is not made in the halls of Congress. Instead, it is created by agency experts in federal environmental agencies and it is implemented at the state level. These individuals have been delegated the authority to interpret vague congressional legislation and write rules – and these rules carry the same weight as congressional law.
Who Really Makes Environmental Policy? brings together top scholars to provide an explanation of rulemaking processes and regulatory policy, and to show why this context is important for U.S. environmental policy. Illustrative case studies about oil and gas regulations in Colorado and the regulation of coal ash disposal in southeastern states apply theory to practice. Ultimately, the essays in this volume advance our understanding of how U.S. environmental policy is made and why understanding regulatory policy matters for its future.
1. Setting the Stage: Environmental Rulemaking and Regulation Defined / Sara R. Rinfret
2. Creating an Environmental Rule: Is It Really Off the Record? / Sara R. Rinfret and Jeffrey J. Cook
3. Notice and Comment: What Does the Public Think? / Jeffrey J. Cook
4. Is the Rule Final Yet? Executive Orders, Litigation, and Rule Finalization / Deserai A. Crow, Lydia A. Lawhon, and Sara K. Guenther
5. What Happens Next? Insights from Environmental Inspectors / Michelle C. Pautz
6. Lessons from the States: Oil and Gas Regulation in Colorado / Robert J. Duffy
7. Interacting Authorities: How Southeastern States and the EPA Regulate Coal Ash Disposal / Charles Davis
8. Our Environmental Policy Tomorrow / Sara R. Rinfret
About the Contributors
Sara R. Rinfret is Professor and Chair of the Baucus Institute Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Montana. She is the coauthor of several books, including The Lilliputians of Environmental Regulation; The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy, 5th Edition, and Public Policy: A Concise Introduction.
"This edited volume is as much about where and how environmental policy is made as it is about who makes it [...] One of the overarching themes that emerges from these and other chapters is that environmental regulation is constantly in flux [...] (T)he thought-provoking essays are likely to inspire scholars and practitioners to write the next act."
– Natural Resources & Environment
"It provides a thorough and very accessible introduction to these actors and processes, with the twin goals of explaining the rule-making process and its importance for U.S. environmental policy, and providing lots of rich examples of how these processes play out in practice [...] It brings together a strong set of authors with deep expertise in their fields who can share not only theoretical knowledge but historical context and contemporary examples [...] Despite multiple authors and perspectives, the book hangs together very coherently as an edited volume."
– Public Administration
"Who Really Makes Environmental Policy? offers a new take on U.S. environmental policy with an unusual but essential focus on the regulatory process and analysis of how regulation works. Rinfret assembles essays from well-established and respected political scientists and newer scholars with unique perspectives to offer a fresh and original examination of environmental rulemaking via diverse case studies. Her book offers a thorough and clear introduction to the often obscure world of regulatory decision making, including such matters as inspections and enforcement of rules that rarely receive attention."
– Michael Kraft, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public and Environmental Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, and coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy
"Anyone who reads Who Really Makes Environmental Policy? will gain a clear understanding of the importance of the regulatory process, from promulgating a regulation to ensuring its enforcement. Concise explanations of what regulations are and who is involved lay the foundation for the book. Written by prominent scholars in the environmental field, this book contains engaging examples that illustrate how politics, litigation, and federalism may confound or accelerate policies, including studies of the Endangered Species Act, oil and gas regulation in Colorado, and the Environmental Protection Agency's involvement in coal ash management. A highly recommended gem of a book for anyone who wants to learn more about environmental policy."
– Denise Scheberle, Clinical Teaching Professor at the University of Colorado–Denver, and author of Industrial Disasters and Environmental Policy: Stories of Villains, Heroes, and the Rest of Us