Environmental Politics: Public Costs, Private Rewards

Environmental Politics: Public Costs, Private Rewards

Environmental Politics: Public Costs, Private Rewards

Environmental Politics: Public Costs, Private Rewards

Synopsis

The essays in this volume address the use and manipulation of environmental regulations and policies for political and economic objectives which, they argue, have little or nothing to do with responsibly serving the spirited public interest in a clean environment. The contributors reject the widespread belief that public policies relating to the environment are drafted and executed in the true public interest. They maintain that all too often policies are directed to serve, through peculiar alliances, special interests' political and economic objectives. Seven specific cases of key environmental policies and practices are presented challenging the purposefulness, integrity, and effectiveness of "command and control" environmental policies.

Excerpt

Like many Americans, I am an environmentalist. I want cleaner air (especially here in Los Angeles), less erosion, and more wetland preserves and wildlife habitats. I worry that each year fewer birds nest near my home and more hillsides are scarred by thoughtless developers. I am upset when the Santa Monica beach is periodically closed because of untreated sewage overflowing into the ocean. I plant trees; I contribute to the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society. I cheerfully vote for referenda that will increase my taxes earmarked for conserving open space and protecting mountain lions.

I commend this volume to the reader, not because I hate environmentalism and wish to see it derailed, but because true environmentalism has already been derailed by mindless or mischievous policies that claim, wrongly, to serve the environment. This book contains several compelling examples of why good intentions are not enough and how environmental slogans have turned into private gain.

It is easy to defeat the ideological or self-interested enemies of environmental protection; it is only necessary to expose these people and their motives, and public opinion will do the rest. It is far harder to defeat the pseudo-environmentalists. They claim to be serving the public when in fact they are serving political and organizational interests of their own. These interests range from anti-market and anti-capitalist ideologies through the desire to win reelection by brandishing empty environmental slogans to a pecuniary stake in saving jobs, thwarting competitors, and selling machinery. There is, of course, nothing wrong in principle with public policy being fashioned out of a struggle among self-interested . . .

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.