Messenger from the White House Council on Environmental Quality. (Spheres of Influence)

By Schmidt, Charles W. | Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2003 | Go to article overview

Messenger from the White House Council on Environmental Quality. (Spheres of Influence)


Schmidt, Charles W., Environmental Health Perspectives


During the last several decades, the environmental priorities of the various administrations occupying the White House have varied. But the statuatory basis underlying the White House's role in environmental policy has not. By law, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is charged with ensuring a safe, healthy environment for all Americans. But as controversy over the Bush environmental agenda heats up, stakeholders increasingly accuse the CEQ of losing touch with its own mandate.

The greening of the federal government arguably dates back to 1969. That year, Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to ensure that environmental concerns would be considered in all federal agency decisions in any way related to resource management. Oversight of this expansive mission was assigned by NEPA to the newly formed CEQ, which was to reside within the Executive Office of the President. With a staff of nearly 80, the fledgling CEQ leaped into the 1970s, a decade that would prove to be a time of profound environmental progress.

During this time, the CEQ worked to ensure that environmental values, as articulated by NEPA, reached far into the federal administrative machinery. Its annual reports--which absorbed up to a third of staff resources--were highly influential guides for legislators working in the environmental policy arena. Jim McElfish, a senior attorney with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C., says the reports established a much-needed baseline evaluation of the status of the nation's environment. "The reports identified environmental issues and trends that deserved concern not only from CEQ but also agencies from across the federal government," he says.

The Global 2000 Report to the President, the annual report released by the CEQ in 1980, remains the most widely distributed document ever produced by the federal government--more than 1.5 million copies are in print, and the report has been translated into eight languages. William Reilly, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under George Herbert Walker Bush, has described the Global 2000 Report as "a classic achievement of a White House council charged with taking the long view and looking beyond the turf of any one agency.

With CEQ oversight, a regulatory infrastructure began to take shape after NEPA. Congress formed the U.S. EPA and passed important legislation underlying our current system of environmental laws. "The CEQ played a crucial role in what is today the fabric and network of environmental protection," says Linde Fisher, deputy administrator of the EPA.

Under NEPA, the CEQ is charged with upholding a core set of environmental principles designed to protect public and ecological health. Consistent with this task, the CEQ's mission is, among other procedural duties, to study the environment and advise the President on optimal policies for its protection. Environmental stakeholders believe this mission is independent of the administration in power. But the CEQ itself is fluid, explains its general counsel, Dinah Bear. "The CEQ reflects available resources and the priorities of the [council] chairman and the President," she says. "So there is no set organizational charter that works for more than a short period of time."

A Variable Influence on Policy

In recent years, disagreements have arisen over the CEQ's changing role in the environmental policy arena. CEQ staff, who represent the administration, see themselves as playing a key role in advancing a worthy environmental agenda. But a number of stakeholders also believe the CEQ has lost its own voice as it has passed through one administration to the next.

"CEQ's influence is based on access to the President, which is itself dependent on personality," explains David Rejeski, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an independent research group in Washington, D. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Messenger from the White House Council on Environmental Quality. (Spheres of Influence)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.