Environmental Policy

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Environmental Policy

Environmental Policy


The environmental policy of the United States is federal governmental action to regulate activities that have an environmental impact in the United States. The goal of environmental policy is to protect the environment for future generations while interfering as little as possible with the efficiency of commerce or the liberty of the people and to limit inequity in who is burdened with environmental costs. This policy grew mainly out of the environmental movement in the United States in the 1960s and '70's during which several environmental laws were passed, regulating air and water pollution and forming the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Partially due to the high costs associated with these regulations, there has been a backlash from business and politically conservative interests, limiting increases to environmental regulatory budgets and slowing efforts to protect the environment. Since the 1970s, despite frequent legislative gridlock, there have been significant achievements in environmental regulation, including increases in air and water quality and to a lesser degree, control of hazardous waste. Due to increasing scientific consensus on global warming and political pressure from environmental groups, modifications to the United States energy policy and limits on greenhouse gas emission have been proposed, but such efforts have made limited progress.


First let us look, that American environmental policymaking and law making was in ascendant is in 1960?s till the beginning of 1980?s.?The decades of the 1960?s and 1970?s were characterized by increasing levels of environmental initiatives in terms of both governmental authorities and the public which involved interest-group activism, presidential action, congressional legislation, court decisions, state-level programs, among others.?(Glen Sussman, Byron W. Daynes, Jonathan P. West, 2002,). The major environmental legislation of this era included very important laws about the environment such as The Clean Air Act of 1963, The Water clean Air Act of 1965, the foundation of National Environmental Policy Act in 1969, the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act known as Superfund in 1980, among others. Furthermore, analyzing that period, we are able to conclude that the tree branches of US federal system-the executive branch, the judicial branch and the legislative branch- were co-operated with each other in order to vote for laws in protection of the environment, the deduction of emissions, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. A new discussion about the role of the federal government in environmental policy has been opened.

To the contrary, examining the decades since 1990, the law making was in low levels. The environment was not on the top of political agenda. The environmental laws that were passed by Congress and signed by the President, were limited and without the importance of previous laws. ?The most significant exceptions to the rule of gridlock were the California Desert Protection Act of 1994, the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.? (Christopher McGrory Klyza and David Sousa, 2008). Some of the environmental legislation is among others, the Oil Protection Act ...
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