Associate Professor Bob Turner                                                                       

315 Ladd                                                                                                                                     

Office Hours M 9-11am, W 10-11am, Wed 4-5pm,

  whenever my door is open or by appointment


Environmental Politics and Policy

Government 231

Spring 2011



This course is a broad overview of the politics and policy of U.S. environmental policy making.  Participants will gain an understanding of how environmental issues arrive on the public agenda, the role of political institutions in making environmental policy, the economic, political, and institutional forces that shape policymaking, competing approaches to environmental policy analysis, and the goals and strategies of the environmental movement.  The goal of the class is to help you develop a critical understanding of how environmental policy is made and how it can be improved.



Vig and Kraft (V&K below), Environmental Policy:  New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, CQ Press, 7th edition

Environment Policy Reader


You should complete the assigned reading and assignment before class. Class will consist of lecture, discussion, and some small group activities, in which all students are expected to participate.



            As befitting your status at one of the “New Ivies”, I have high expectations of student performance. Grades will be determined by student performance on all of the following:


1.                  Midterm 15% (Feb 28)

2.                  Paper #1 Legislative and Political History 20%, March 7

3.                  Paper #2 Policy Evaluation 20% (April 1)

4.                  Paper #3 Policy Reform Proposal 20% (May 6)

5.                  Final Exam 25%, May 11, 1:30-4:30 pm


All students should familiarize themselves with the college’s policy on Academic Misconduct and abide by the provisions of the Honor Code.  If you need any academic accommodations, please be sure that you have made your requests for such accommodations to Meg Hegener. If you are not able to arrive before the beginning of the period, regularly do the readings, or meet the due dates for assignments, I encourage you to reconsider your decision to take the class.



            A well functioning class that promotes learning requires good attendance.  You are allowed two personal days (absences), after that I will deduct 2.5% from your final grade.  For example, you receive a 90%, but have missed four classes; your final grade is an 85%.  You have an unlimited number of excused absences for illnesses, family crises, etc, though they count against your two absences.  For each of these absences, you must provide written excuse from the Dean of Students’ office. 



Jan 24 Introduction   




Jan 26 Agenda Setting, the Issue Attention Cycle, and Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Theory

**Sarah Pralle, Agenda-setting and climate change, Environmental Politics, Volume 18, Issue 5 Sep 2009, p. 781 - 799

** Anthony Downs, Up and Down with Ecology—the Issue Attention Cycle, The Public Interest, p. 38-50

** Judith Layzer, “The Nation Tackles Pollution,” in The Environmental Case p. 25-51 

** Google and read about “Climate Gate”


Jan 31 Problem Definition/Framing in Theory and Practice

** Deborah Stone Causal Stories and Policy Agendas, Political Science Quarterly, 1989, 281-300

** Sierra Club, False Advertising, 1-3, Download

** Patrick J. Michaels, Losing It, American Spectator, December 11, 2006, Download.

** Myron Ebell, “Love Global Warming:  What's wrong with mild winters, anyway?”

Forbes Dec 8, 2006, Download


Feb 2 Punctuated Equilibrium or Creative Problem Definition

** Ingram, Helen and Leah Fraser, Path Dependency and Adroit Innovation:  The Case of California Water, in Punctuated Equilibrium and the Dynamics of US Environmental Policy, 78-109


** Selection of environmental policy area for research project due **



Feb 7 Understanding Gridlock

**McGrory Klyza and Sousa, Creating the Current Institutional Landscape of Environmental Policy-Making, in American Environmental Policy, 1990-2006, Beyond Gridlock.  p. 19-46

**Eugene B. Skolnikoff; The Policy Gridlock On Global Warming.  Foreign Policy; Summer 1990,

Optional:  Jane May,  Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.  New Yorker,
Aug 30, 2010.


Feb 9 The President

Norman Vig, "Presidential Powers and Environmental Policy," V&K, 75-99.

** Natural Resources Defense Council, Rewriting the Rules: The Bush Administration’s First Term Environmental Record (2005). Download


Feb 14 Presidential Tools for Influencing the Environment

**NRDC- Obama Administration's First-Year Environment Record;  January 11, 2010.

**Traci Watson, Obama veers from Bush's environmental course, 3/9/2009 USA TODAY  

** Activists frustrated at Obama’s environmental record, Christian Science Monitor

Optional, Listen to Off to a Green Start: Obama`s Record on the Environment, President of NRDC


** Bibliography for first paper due **


Feb 16  Does Congress Care About the Environment?

Skim Michael Kraft, "Environmental Policy in Congress," in V&K

**  Jonathan Adler, Clean Fuels, Dirty Air, p. 19-45

** John M. Broader, With Something for Everyone, Climate Bill Passed, July 1, 2009, New York Times

**The Political Scene, “As the World Burns,” The New Yorker, October 11, 2010, p. 70,

**David Roberts,  THE BIG MURKOWSKI; Hanging EPA regulations around Democrats’ necks, 20 Jan 2010,


Feb 21 The Courts:  “It is not the stratosphere. It's the troposphere.” 

Rosemary O’Leary, "Environmental Policy in the Courts," in V&K, 148-69

** D. Lithwick, Dirty Water:  The Supreme Court takes a long, tall drink from the Clean Water Act, Download.

** D. Lithwick,  Benchwarming:  The Supreme Court melts down over greenhouse gasses, Download.

**McGrory Klyza and Sousa, From Who Has Standing?” to “Who is Left Standing?” section on Land Use in the Southwest


Feb 23 The States:  Savior or Shirkers?

Barry Rabe, Racing to the Top, the Bottom, or the Middle of the Pack” in V&K, p. 27-50

Pew Trust, Climate Change 101:  State Action

**Jan Ellen Spiegel, Connecticut Mulls Rollback on Clean Energy, New York Times April 8, 2010

**Christa Marshal, Will the Midwest Turn Its Back on Addressing Climate Change?, New York Times, June 4, 2010


Feb 28 Midterm- likely to  be moved back to Mar 2.


Section III  Environmental Policy

Mar 2 Command and Control Regulation

** W. Harrington, Regulating Industrial Water Pollution in the United States, RFF, p. 1-38, Download

** Skim- George J. Stigler, “The Theory of Economic Regulation.” The Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science, 2, 1 (1971): 3-21. Download


**Introductory paragraph with Thesis due**


Mar 7 Can Government Regulate Smarter?  Permitting and Project XL

**T. Davis, Reforming Permitting, Executive Summary, Resources for the Future, 2001, Download 

** A. Marcus, Reinventing Environmental Regulation:  Lessons from Project XL, Ch 8 & 10




Mar 9  Can or Will Corporations Go Green?

** Marc Eisner, From Greed to Green:  Corporate Environmentalism and Management p. 1-33


March 12-20 Spring Break!  Be Carbon Neutral


Mar 21  Towards A New Environmental Regulation?

Press and Mazmanian, “Towards Sustainable Production.” In V&K 220-244

**Thomas P. Lyon and  John W. Maxwell, Environmental Public Voluntary Programs Reconsidered.  Policy Studies Journal, Volume 35, Issue 4, pages 723–750, November 2007


Marr 23 Towards A New Environmental Regulation?

** Marc Allen Eisner, Corporate Environmentalism, Regulatory Reform, and Industry Self-Regulation: Toward Genuine Regulatory Reinvention in the United States, Governance, Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 145–167, April 2004


** Bibliography for Science Paper due **


March 28 Clean Air and Water Act II:  Cost Benefit Analysis and Market Mechanisms

Sheila Olmstead, Applying Market Principles to Environmental Policy" in V&K

**Cary Coglianese and Gary E. Marchant, “The EPA’s Risky Reasoning.” Regulation, 27, 2 (2004): 16-22. Download

Cass R. Sunstein (Obama’s new regulatory czar), Your Money or Your Life, The New Republic,  March 15, 2004, p. 1-5


March 30 Cap and Trade versus Carbon Tax Debate

Putting a Price on Carbon:  An Emissions Cap or a Tax?  Yale Environment 360, May 2009,

** Robert Goodin, Selling Environmental Injustices p. 237-255

Skim, Ellerman and Harrison, Emissions Trading in the US, Experience, Lessons and Considerations for Greenhouse Gases. Pew Center on Global Climate Change, May 2003




April 4 Environmental Justice Debate:  Round I

 ** Robert Bullard, (2005) Environmental Justice in the 21st Century,

** Christopher H. Foreman, Jr, The Clash of Purposes: Environmental Justice and Risk Assessment, Inside Washington's Risk Policy Report 5 (March 20, 1998):34-37, Download

** Christopher H. Foreman, Jr., A Winning Hand?  The Uncertain Future of Environmental Justice, Spring 1996 Vol. 14 No. 2,   p 22-25 1996 The Brookings Institution. Download

** Foreman Remarks on Environmental Justice US Commission on Civil Rights, Jan 2002 Download

Peruse  and )


April 6 Is Hurricane Katrina an Environmental Justice Issue? :  Round 2

**Robert D. Bullard, Differential Vulnerabilities: Environmental and Economic Inequality and Government Response to Unnatural Disasters, Social Research International Quarterly Journal November 2007.

**Robert Bullard and Beverly Wright, The Power of Race and Place: How and why the predominantly black areas of the Gulf Coast are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina, The American Prospect, February 23, 2009

**Robert Bullard, Let Them Eat Dirt (1-6)

**Marc Kaufman,  FEMA Flip-Flops Again on Trailers, Washington Post

Peruse the Environmental Justice Resource Center, Katrina Update

 Social Science Research Council’s Katrina Research Hub:


April 11 Public Lands: The Multiple Use Tradition

 Lubell and Segee:  Conflict and Cooperation in Natural Resource Management, V&K

Presentations on Potential of Collaborative Management:  Either  

** Denise Scheberle, Moving Toward Community-Based Environmental Management: Wetland Protection in Door County American Behavioral Scientist December 2000 44: 565-579,

** Toddi Steelman, Innovation in Land Use Governance and Protection: The Case of Great Outdoors Colorado

American Behavioral Scientist December 2000 44: 580-598,


April 13  The Battle Over Public Lands:  Values and the ANWAR debate

**  Judith Layzer, Oil Versus Wilderness in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, p. 102-123.

In class debate over oil drilling in ANWAR


Section IV  Environmental Movement

April  18 Critics, Radicals, Reapers and Apostates

**  David Foreman, Putting the Earth First, p. 358-364

**  M. DowieLosing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century (MIT Press, 1995), 29-49, 125-148. 

**  Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, The Death of Environmentalism:  Global warming politics in a post-environmental world, 13 Jan 2005, Download

**  James Gustave Speth, Environmental Failure: A Case for a New Green Politics, Yale Environment 360 Oct 20, 2008


April 20 The Environmental Movement- “I’m not dead yet.  I’m feeling much better.”

Guber & Bosso, "Past the Tipping Point," V&K

**  Michael Shellenberger, Towards a New Ecological Majority, Download

** William Greider, Apollo Now, The Nation, Jan 2, 2006, Download


April 25 -  27 The New Environmental Movement?

** Robert Duffy, The Green Agenda in American Politics, Chs 4 ,5 ,7 (82-163, 196-210)


May 2 Conclusion and my birthday


May 4 Academic Festival:  Environmental Studies Capstone Presentations 9-12:15 EXTRA CREDIT


May 6 Paper #3 Policy Reform Proposal (6-8 pages) Due


May 11, Final Exam 1:30-4:30