The Failures of Compliance, Abatement and Mitigation
New Horizons in Environmental Politics series
Chapter 1: Introduction
The central problem for twenty-first-century environmental policy is how to develop new strategies for attacking new environmental problems, how to develop better strategies for solving the old ones, and how to do both in ways that are more efficient, less taxing, and engender less political opposition. (Donald Kettl, Environmental Governance, 2002, p. 6.) For scholars and policy practitioners alike, the early 1970s – ushered in by the first nationwide Earth Day celebration – marked the beginning of serious environmental regulation in the United States. Forty years later, Americans with any serious green penchant are engaging in some profound soul-searching about our environmental regulations. Did the nation make enough progress, given the gravity and reach of environmental problems? Did American environmental policy perform as well as that of other developed countries? Were the costs acceptable? Did the extensive American green state – to use Klyza and Sousa’s (2008) term – select the most appropriate policy instruments? Were these tools applied properly? More fundamentally, to what extent did American environmental regulation transform the way we manufacture, build, consume and move people or goods?