Environmental Deceptions: The Tension Between Liberalism and Environmental Policymaking in the United States

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Environmental Deceptions brings together normative analysis and empirical data to explain the structural limitations liberal society places on environmental improvement. Whereas liberal society is predicated on individual self-interest, environmental legislation is predicated on communal regulation of individual property rights. Cahn’s aim is to expose the tensions between American political culture and environmental regulation in an effort to make environmental policy discourse more effective. By analyzing such areas as air policy, water policy, waste policy, and energy policy, he exposes the subtle tensions that often lead to failure and explains why traditional models of environmental legislation are insufficient to resolve existing environmental dilemmas.
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About the author

Matthew Alan Cahn is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Northridge.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9780791498262
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Religion & Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The #1 New York Times bestselling account of a neurosurgeon's own near-death experience—for readers of 7 Lessons from Heaven.

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This edited volume is a comprehensive examination of the legal framework in which environmental policy is fashioned in the major English-speaking federations--the United States, Canada, and Australia. The need for national solutions to environmental problems emerged long after the largest share of governmental power was allotted to states or provinces. This volume attempts to solve the paradox of how a country can have effective laws protecting the environment, vigorously enforced, when legislative and administrative powers are divided between two tiers of government.

The contributors analyze environmental lawmaking along three dimensions. Part I describes the formal constitutional allocation of powers between states or provinces and the federal government, concluding that on paper environmental protection is essentially a local responsibility, although the reality is far different. In Part II the contributors explore the extent to which governments resort to informal negotiations among themselves to resolve environmental disputes. Part III is a thorough canvassing of the judiciary's role in making environmental policy and resolving disputes between levels and branches of government. In Australia and Canada, the courts play a relatively less important role in formulating policy than in the United States. In conclusion, the work shows that the level of environmental protection is relatively high in these three federations. Environmental politics, the work suggests, may be less divisive in federations than in unitary systems with comparable levels of development.

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