Chapter 2: Coasean bargaining in collaborative environmental policy
Thomas A. Rhoads and Jason F. Shogren* INTRODUCTION Prophets and pragmatists have seen the future of environmental policy, and it is local control through consensus with added accountability (for example, Sabel et al. 1999). Many people would like this view of the future, especially those in rural settings. Local resource control is an old idea that they have long advocated to the central powers that have long dominated environmental policy. Those who live near the land believe they know the land, and have a vested interest in its care. Just as they are accountable to the land, they see themselves as accountable to each other, and to the nation. Working together to find common ground just makes common sense, which is why collaborative decision-making has begun to flourish in rural settings like the western United States. Collaboration groups now number in the hundreds, ranging from informal grassroots gatherings to government-mandated advisory councils. A good example of this decentralized, collaborative decision-making vision is Enlibra, the US Western Governors Association’s new doctrine for environmental management.1 The governors want less remote control and more local control over western resources. Enlibra outlines their push for strong local leadership to balance development and conservation goals, and resolve environmental conflicts. The first Enlibra principle is: ‘national standards, neighborhood solutions – assign responsibilities at the right level’. Locals understand local conditions. In contrast to unimaginative bureaucratic responses, the federal government should help local people and policy-makers develop their own plans to achieve binding targets and to provide accountability....
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