Nixon and the Marine Environment

By Barkdull, John | Presidential Studies Quarterly, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Nixon and the Marine Environment


Barkdull, John, Presidential Studies Quarterly


Nixon and the Environment

In 1967, the Liberian-flagged tanker 7brrey Canyon ran aground near England's Land's End, the first supertanker accident and still among history's worst oil tanker spills.(1) In 1989, the Exxon Valdez grounded in Alaska's Prince William Sound, causing the largest U.S. oil spill ever. Responding to accidents and to growth in the oil tanker trade, U.S. policy makers sought national and international rules to reduce ship pollution. Although dramatic incidents such as the Exxon Valdez might create the opposite impression, the efforts of these policy makers have met success.(2) Important international initiatives occurred during Richard M. Nixon's presidency, when the United States led international negotiations for a comprehensive new treaty to regulate ship pollution.

Why did the United States lead on this international environmental issue during a Republican, pro-business president's term? The answer lies partly in the U.S. national interest. Yet, policy in the national interest does not occur automatically. Fragmented political systems such as those in the United States should rarely achieve such results. How did the United States do so?

Four years before 7brrey Canyon, Rachel Carson's influential Silent Spring had "sounded an alarm" about the planet's endangered state, a cry crucial to the rise of environmental consciousness.(3) Two years following Torrey Canyon, only a month into Nixon's first term, an offshore oil well near Santa Barbara, California, blew out, fouling many miles of beach and drawing the nation's attention to oil pollution. Such events set the stage for Earth Day, April 22, 1970. In 1972, the international community registered its concern at the Stockholm United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment. In short, the modern environmental movement emerged from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s.(4)

In 1968, Richard Nixon won the White House. No one had reason to expect that the Nixon administration would lead on environmental policy. By 1972, the League of Conservation Voters would sponsor a book on Nixon subtitled The Politics of Devastation, giving the president little credit for environmental leadership.(5) Yet, Nixon presided over the most productive period in U.S. history for environmental legislation and policy.(6) Russell Train observes,

   By 1973, the president could point to the passage into law of major
   legislative proposals of his administration, including: air quality
   legislation, strengthened water quality and pesticide control legislation,
   new authorities to control noise and ocean dumping, and legislation
   establishing major national recreation areas at New York City and San
   Francisco as well as regulations to prevent oil and other spills in ports
   and waterways.(7)

Besides legislation, the Nixon administration employed executive actions to advance environmental protection, including use of the Refuse Act of 1899 to control pollution and waste dumping into the nation's waters, regulations governing the use of poisons and pesticides on public lands, and declaration of parks and historic sites. The administration put whales on the endangered species list, ending U.S. commercial whaling. Nixon ordered federal agencies to review their activities' environmental impact, and he canceled the Cross-Florida Barge Canal and an Everglades jetport for Miami. In foreign policy, the administration achieved international cooperation to strengthen oil pollution control, regulate ocean dumping, condemn whaling, manage the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders, and support the 1972 Stockholm UN Conference on the Human Environment.(8) If due to Nixon, the domestic and international initiatives represent "an extraordinary environmental record in almost every respect."(9)

Was Nixon the Environmental President?

Although the Nixon era produced much new environmental policy, opinion on Nixon's responsibility ranges widely. …

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

Nixon and the Marine Environment
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.