Table of Contents

The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance

The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance

Barriers and Responses

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Edited by Richard D. Margerum and Cathy J. Robinson

Collaborative approaches to governance are being used to address some of the most difficult environmental issues across the world, but there is limited focus on the challenges of practice. Leading scholars from the United States, Europe and Australia explore the theory and practice in a range of contexts, highlighting the lessons from practice, the potential limitations of collaboration and the potential strategies for addressing these challenges.

Chapter 10: Politicians and collaborative governance: the new logic of support

Edward P. Weber

Subjects: environment, energy policy and regulation, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


In this chapter Edward Weber examines the issue of political support for collaborative governance and the logic of support that spans both liberal and conservative politicians in the western United States. For liberal politicians, collaborative governance is viewed as a way to achieve environmental goals such as species recovery. From their perspective, the national environmental superstructure of environmental laws provides enough security that their preferred environmental protection outcomes will be reached that they are willing to loosen the reins of discretion in order to produce better outcomes. For conservative politicians, the place-based collaboration approach matches the conservative ideas of small government and governance close to home. This support continues to be challenged by lawsuits from the left and right, but broad-based public interest outcomes offer policy solutions that are often hard for elected officials to oppose. In response to these trends, Weber notes that politicians have been granting more discretion to agencies, which have been also lending more support to collaboration due to declining budgets and more emphasis on collaboration.

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