POL 321 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act (United States), United States Forest Service

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Lecture 16
What is Environmental Policy
Environmental Policybroad category of policy making; any government action
(legislation, local, rule) that attempts to affect environmental quality or natural resources
(use or protection of)
Complicated due to reliance on scientific evidence
3 areas: pollution control, resource use, & energy policy
Any level of government (federal, regional, state, local)
o Ex: recent local/municipal plastic bans
Many environmental policies are challenged in court
2 Eras: The Early Era (to the 1960s) & The Modern Era (starting 1970s)
The Early Eraup to the 1960s, a focus on conservation of natural resources (less
pollution/energy focus)
o Back as early as the 1600s there were policies in place
o 1800s policies along with economic development
o 1896 Congress created first ever National Park (Yellowstone)
Example of conservation
o 1905 US Forest Service created
o 1916 National Park Service created
o Some soil conservation policies with FDR New Deal
o Pretty much all natural resource conservation policies; any regulations on big
companies were focused on being monopolies not polluters
In 1960s, news coverage & reports on human health hazards
o Ex: pollution from pesticides gets into water
US shifting to post-industrial, focus on technology
People more concerned about environmental issues
The Modern Erawith science showing hazards, starting in late 1960s/early 1970s,
shifted focus to controlling pollution
o Regulating negative externalities
o Major policies passes 1970-1980
o Reasons to put in place policy are moral, political, & economic, & all 3 were present
in 1970-1980
Moral: the right thing due to studies
Political: popular with public to protect environment/control pollution
Economic: negative externality a market failure
Current Policies
Clean Air Act (1970)amendments expanded federal government pollution controls;
created EPA to regulate emissions (authorized for state & federal) covering industrial &
mobile emissions
o CA can set stricter ones, but being challenged by Trump Administration
Clean Water Act (1972)allows regulation of pollution from pointclearly identifiable
source of pollution& nonpoint water sources by EPA
o Agricultural runoff is nonpoint, hard to see exact
o Also give assistance for wastewater treatments because it gets in other water
Safe Drinking Water Act (1974)ensures quality of our drinking water by letting EPA
create national standards & oversee state & local governments implementing it
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