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Edward P. Weber

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.