Pluralism by Design: Environmental Policy and the American Regulatory State

By George Hoberg | Go to book overview

9
CONCLUSION: PLURALISM BY DESIGN

The previous five chapters have revealed a policy process fundamentally different from the one existing prior to 1970. The distribution of power changed as environmental interests acquired much greater influence over regulatory policy than they had prior to 1970. In turn, policy outcomes have changed to reflect this redistribution of power. Despite a major disruption in 1981 and 1982, this pattern endured throughout the 1980s. This chapter summarizes these empirical developments and then attempts to provide an explanation for them. Particular attention is focused on the relative explanatory power of the institutional view in contrast to other theoretical perspectives. The concluding section reflects on how successful the new regime has been at alleviating the problems plaguing the previous system.


THE PLURALIST REGULATORY REGIME AND POLICY CHANGE

The pattern of regulatory policy making underwent a profound transformation around 1970. The most important components of those changes are those elements that comprise the doctrine of pluralist legalism: carefully specified goals and timetables in Congressional statutes, a dramatic assertion of judicial power, and new legal rights of participation and initiation for environmental groups. While the New Deal regime was characterized by an informal, cooperative regulatory style, pluralist legal-

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