Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy
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Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy

Edited by David M. Konisky

A comprehensive analysis of diverse areas of scholarly research on U.S. environmental policy and politics, this Handbook looks at the key ideas, theoretical frameworks, empirical findings and methodological approaches to the topic. Leading environmental policy scholars emphasize areas of emerging research and opportunities for future enquiry.
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Chapter 4: The Environmental Protection Agency: policy and administration in a turbulent setting

Brian J. Cook


The U.S. EPA is one of the primary institutions responsible for the design and implementation of national environmental policy. Through the lens of public organizations as open systems, this chapter examines EPA’s history, development, and current status, the turbulent political and economic setting in which it operates, and how it has responded. The EPA has struggled to contend with the effects of a programmatically fragmented rather than integrated internal structure, as well as multiple and conflicting political principals and a similar lack of integration in its broad and significant regulatory authority. Nevertheless, the agency has been one of the prime architects of significant national improvements in public health and environmental quality over the past 50 years. New, theoretically well grounded research on the EPA’s internal operations and leadership and its role in the national network of environmental governance are critical for understanding its prospects as it enters its second half century.

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