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The Government And Environmental Policy Essay

1677 words - 7 pages

The Government and Environmental PolicyPolitical Science 215The purpose of the United States' public policy law is to implement restrictions in an effort to solve problems,which can be seen with the Clean Water Act. Public policy has also been employed to reform the Endangered SpeciesAct of 1973. Although the United States government is noble in it's efforts to preserve the environment throughthese acts, the internal structure of public policy often retards these acts' effectiveness. This paper will explorethe many ways in which factors such as horizontal implementation, divided government, and other forms of publicpolicy affect the environmental legislation involved with the aforementioned acts.The main factors involved with the Endangered Species Act of 1973 involve horizontal implementation structure anddivided government. Before one can discuss how these policies affect environmental legislation, a brief descriptionof each must first be lucidly explained. When our government was founded, a system of checks and balances wasimplemented between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches to ensure that no one part of government getstoo much power. Although this limits the power of any one person in government, it often slows down the ability ofgovernment because a consensus can be difficult with so many people working together.Another problem is that there are many subgovernments affecting the legislation as well, such as interest groups likethe Sierra Club, Administrative Agents like the Environmental Protection Agency, and Congressional Committees.Because these groups add to the total number of people working on the legislation, the original noble ideology ofmaking policy for the good of the nation is voided. Also because there are so many differences of opinion, fewdrastic changes are made, instead small incremental changes are made which take up lots of time and retard theeffectiveness and enforcement of the legislation. In addition to this chaotic turmoil, four steps must beimplemented in order to pass a bill. These are initiation & definition, formulation & enactment (legitimation),implementation, and evaluation.The most relevant one of these steps is horizontal implementation when one considers the Endangered Species Act andClean Water Act. This policy is the process that puts a law into effect after it has been legitimized. Congress andthe President set up the initial regulation of the law, but the direct responsibility of regulation is turned over tothe states involved. And, of course, workset-like incentives such as taxes, fees, allowances, refunds, and liabilityare used to enforce the laws effectively.Horizontal implementation refers specifically to implementation with the federal government, as opposed to verticalimplementation which is at the state and local levels. There are several specific concerns with horizontalimplementation which include the breakdown of coordination due to the large structure of the federal...

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