American Environmental Policy

American Environmental Policy

The Failures of Compliance, Abatement and Mitigation

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Daniel Press

More than 40 years after the United States launched bold efforts to curb pollution and waste, American environmental management has stalled. Drawing extensively on recent enviornmental science, engineering, regulatory agency data and trade information, American Environmental Policy explores how environmental management in the US has fallen short of its early promise and reputation. Arguing that policies need to be redesigned for the 21st century, this book offers examples and principles of effective environmental policy reforms. It concludes with suggestions for how new policies should be designed, as well as examples of successfull regulatory innovations already in practice around the world.

Chapter 6: Regulation beyond compliance, abatement and mitigation

Daniel Press

Subjects: environment, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


In this final chapter, I turn to promising reforms for US environmental regulation. As with the critiques described in prior chapters, this exploration of improvements will focus on policy designs along with some promising policy tools. Mirroring the earlier chapters’ critiques, these policy reforms emphasize improving environmental program evidence, ameliorating end-of-pipe pollution abatement, rethinking our approach to nonpoint sources of pollution, and designing recycling programs to meet broader goals of industrial policy rather than limited waste management objectives. To provide a context for the specific laws and associated regulatory programs that will serve as examples of effective reforms, I begin by pointing out how the flawed compliance-mitigation-abatement approach described earlier should compel us to re-think our objectives for environmental regulation. This focus on design objectives parallels that of other recent environmental regulation scholars, many of whom agree on a common set of reform objectives.

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