The Life Cycles of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency: 1970-2035

The Life Cycles of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency: 1970-2035

The Life Cycles of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency: 1970-2035

The Life Cycles of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency: 1970-2035

Synopsis

During the middle and late 1960s, public concern about the environment grew rapidly, as did Congressional interest in addressing environmental problems. Then, in 1970, a dramatic series of bipartisan actions were taken to expand the national government's efforts to control the volume and types of substances that pollute the air, water, and land. In that year, President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act, which established for the first time a national policy on the environment and created the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Additionally, President Nixon created, with Congressional support, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and he signed into law the Clean Air Act of 1970, which had overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. The strong bipartisan consensus on the need to protect environmental and human health began to erode, however, during the middle and late 1970s as other domestic and foreign policy problems rose to the top of the public and legislative agendas. Ronald Reagan's election to the Presidency in 1980marked a dramatic shift in both environmental policymaking and administration. Over the thirty years that followed Reagan's election, environmental politics and administration became increasingly polarized. In this book, James K. Conant and Peter J. Balint examine the trajectory of environmental policy and administration in the United States by looking at the development of the CEQ and EPA. They look at changes in budgetary and staffing resources over time as well as the role of quality of leadership as key indicators of capacity and vitality. As well, they make correlations between the agencies' fortunes and various social, political, and economic variables. Conant and Balint cautiously predict that both agencies are likely to survive over the next twenty years, but that they will both experience continuing volatility as their life histories unfold.

Excerpt

A variety of human activities produce pollutants, many of which pose risks to human health, the natural environment, and the Earth’s biosphere. These activities, however, may have important economic and social purposes. For example, coal-fired utility plants emit a range of dangerous substances from their tall smokestacks, many of which fall back to Earth hundreds of miles downwind. These pollutants make breathing difficult for people who have asthma and heart disease, and they damage forests, lakes, rivers, and the ecosystems of which they are a part. Yet, the electrical power generated at these plants is used to run factories, provide heat and air conditioning for office buildings, light homes, and sustain the Internet.

Likewise, the internal combustion engines in automobiles and trucks emit harmful pollutants from their exhaust pipes that cause smog in urban areas and contribute to global climate change. Yet these vehicles give people the means to travel, conduct their social lives, commute to work, and move goods to markets.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.