Resolving the Paradox of Environmental Protection

By Howes, Jonathan; John, Dewitt et al. | Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Resolving the Paradox of Environmental Protection


Howes, Jonathan, John, Dewitt, Minard, Richard A., Jr., Issues in Science and Technology


EPA's central challenge is to maintain rigorous national standards while providing the utmost flexibility to states, communities, and companies.

The next big breakthrough in environmental management is likely to be a series of small breakthroughs. Capitol Hill may be paralyzed by a substantive and political impasse, but throughout the United States, state and local governments, businesses, community groups, private associations, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) itself are experimenting with new ways to achieve their goals for the environment. These experiments are diverse and largely uncoordinated, yet they illustrate a convergence of ideas from practitioners, think tanks, and academia about ways to improve environmental management.

One hallmark of the management experiments is an increased emphasis on achieving measurable environmental results. A second hallmark is a shift away from the prescriptive regulatory approaches that allowed EPA or a state to tell a company or community how to manage major sources of pollution. The experimental approaches still hold companies and communities accountable for achieving specified results but encourage them to innovate to find their own best ways to meet society's expectations for their total operations. The experiments share a third hallmark: They encourage citizens, companies, and government agencies to learn how to make better environmental decisions over time.

EPA is initiating some of those changes, as well as responding to initiatives taken by state and local governments, groups, and companies. A report published by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) in September 1997, entitled Resolving the Paradox of Environmental Protection: An Agenda for Congress, EPA, and the States, identified and analyzed some of the most significant environmental initiatives under way in the United States, including EPA's Project XL pilots, state efforts to encourage businesses to learn about and correct their environmental problems, and the implementation of the National Environmental Performance partnership System (NEPPS) with the states. The report also focused on the challenge of developing performance indicators and an environmental information system that could support the new management approaches.

The increased emphasis on performance-based management responds to two social goals: increasing the cost-effectiveness of pollution controls and ensuring that the quality of the nation's environment continues to improve. In the past, EPA and its state counterparts could exercise authority without much concern for the bluntness of their regulatory tools. Over time, the cost of many end-of-the-pipe pollution controls rose faster than the benefits they produced, so environmental improvement began to look too expensive. Now, however, the public expects agencies to strive for more cost-effective and less disruptive approaches.

EPA, state environmental agencies, and the regulated community need to accelerate the shift to performance-based protection, because several environmental problems are likely to become more serious and more expensive to manage in traditional ways. Chief among those problems are emissions of greenhouse gases, which may produce global climate change; polluted runoff from farms, urban streets, and lawns; the deposition of persistent organic pollutants and metals from the air into water bodies; and the destruction or degradation of critical natural habitats, including wetlands. Continued economic growth in the United States and in the developing world will also increase certain types of environmental stresses, particularly those caused by consumption of fossil energy.

EPA could not manage most of these problems through traditional means for three reasons. First, these problems arise from disparate sources that are so small and numerous that traditional end-of-the-pipe pollution controls often are neither technically feasible nor politically acceptable solutions. …

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

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
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.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 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.

Cited article

Resolving the Paradox of Environmental Protection
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

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, 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."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.

    Author Advanced search

    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.