The Impact of Public Policy on Environmental Quality and Health: The Case of Land Use Management and Planning

The Impact of Public Policy on Environmental Quality and Health: The Case of Land Use Management and Planning

The Impact of Public Policy on Environmental Quality and Health: The Case of Land Use Management and Planning

The Impact of Public Policy on Environmental Quality and Health: The Case of Land Use Management and Planning

Synopsis

Until now, an approach to land use management and planning that addresses not only economic issues, but also environmental concerns and health issues of land use has been lacking. These issues are vital for public policy makers, decision-makers throughout the private sector, as well as all businesses and industries that share space with the communities they serve and draw from. This volume covers the legal and regulatory aspects of land use management, the process of land use planning, and all of the related environmental, health, and societal impacts that land use planning entails. This book provides a clear, multidisciplinary approach to a very complex set of issues. An essential resource not only for public administrators, policymakers, and planners, but also for people with corresponding responsibilities in business and industry, their attorneys and other advisors, and for their colleagues with similar concerns.

Excerpt

In 1997, Californians were reminded of the environmental, health, economic and social costs of land use decisions made in 1913. On December 17, 1996, the Los Angeles Times published a front-page story about Central California's Owens Valley multimillion-dollar plan to force the City of Los Angeles to return 13 percent of its cheapest water supply to Owens Lake. The proposed plan is a mitigation measure against pollution resulting from decisions made long ago to drain the Owens River before it flows into the lake.

The environmental editor of the Los Angeles Times, Marla Cone, outlined the plan which aims to control the dust storms that result in health and aesthetics problems through partial restoration of 35 square miles of the 110-square-mile dry Owens Lake. It will also cost the City of Los Angeles $69.7 million in construction and an additional $25 million per year in maintenance. The water rates charged by the city's Department of Water and Power would go up by approximately 9 percent or $1.78 per month per household. Los Angeles would have to buy additional water from the Colorado River and from the San Francisco -- San Joaquin River Delta; water shortages may occur. The city vows to fight the plan but Owens Valley officials and pollution control agencies insist that environmental health and legal consideration are on their side. In this area lying at the foothills of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, the wind can be so strong that, every year it blows approximately four million tons of salty particulates off the dry lake into the air that the Owens Valley residents breathe. The Great Basin air agency noted that the people in the small towns of the area are exposed to unhealthy air that exceeds federal health standards for periods ranging from ten to twenty-five days per year. One day in 1995, the particulate level reached a nationwide record high (i.e., twenty-three times greater than the federal health standard allows). On such days residents and health personnel in the area report higher levels of visits to clinics, including emergency rooms, by individuals suffering from respiratory problems.

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