Environmental Politics. Outline. SOLUTIONS:. MONEY, POLITICS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:. ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCIES AND NPO’S. Approaches to solving the problem. Votes for sale?. Governmental Environmental Groups. ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Governmental How are regulations passed and enacted?.
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Outline SOLUTIONS: MONEY, POLITICS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT: ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCIES AND NPO’S Approaches to solving the problem Votes for sale? Governmental Environmental Groups ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Governmental How are regulations passed and enacted?
Protecting Common Resources THE UNDERLYING ECONOMICS: Companies benefit financially by polluting. Companies profit by using federal lands. THE PROBLEM: Pollution destroys common resources Water, air, soil, forests Used resources are not replaced THE QUESTION: Who protects common resources from ruin at the hands of industry?
Protecting Common Resources THE ANSWER: THE GOVERNMENT! ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Federal, state, and local governments Enact and enforce regulations on development, water pollution, air pollution, etc.
Creating regulations While this occurs at all levels of government, we are going to focus on the federal government.
Legislation debated and voted on If passed, environmental agency makes regulations Regulations implemented and enforced Successful regulation Environmental Legislation Legislation proposed HOW ARE THESE REGULATIONS MADE? FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
LET'S TAKE A LOOK... Environmental Legislation To simplify things, let's look only at federal laws HOW IS FEDERAL LEGISLATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS ENACTED?
Federal Legislation STEP 1: Bill introduced into committee in Congress Committee reviews bill; can die there STEP 2: Passes committee, on to debate and vote in House of Representatives STEP 3: If passed, procedure repeats in Senate STEP 4: If passed, goes up for presidential review
Federal Legislation STEP 5: If signed into law, executive agency oversees environmental legislation STEP 6: Conflict between industry and regulators may lead to lawsuit; if so, goes to judicial branch STEP 7: If declared unconstitutional, legislation is nullified STEP 8: If nullified, process starts all over or is forgotten
Governmental Agencies If the legislation gets passed, there needs to be governmental oversight of the regulations passed. This falls to the executive branch of government. The major environmental agencies are: • EPA - primary responsibility for protecting environmental quality • Dept. of Interior - oversees federal natural resources • Dept. of Agriculture - oversees farming and ranching Other agencies have minor responsibilities that impact natural and artificial environments. • Health and Human Services - FDA oversees food and drugs, CDCoversees diseases in humans, animals, and plants • Dept. of Labor - OSHA regulates working environments
EPA • Created in 1970 to combat the onslaught of pollution entering water, air, and land • Enforces regulations under existing laws • Oversees environmental research to set standards that must be followed • When national standards are not met, can issue sanctions, fines,etc. • Very political office. A new presidential administration can completely change the EPA attitude toward enforcement Website - http://www.epa.gov/
Department of Interior • Oversees natural resources on federal lands • Contains the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management,Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement • NPS and FWS control national parks, monuments, and wildliferefuges; also responsible for administering the Endangered SpeciesAct • BLM and BOEMRE oversee the use of federal lands for companiesand individuals that use resources (oil and gas leases, grazing rights) • Bureau of Reclamation responsible for federal dams built on waterways Website - http://www.doi.gov/bureaus.html
Department of Agriculture • Oversees the production of food in the U.S. and createsstandards for nutrition • Responsible for food safety and security • Houses the U.S. Forest Service, which oversees national forests and grasslands Website - http://www.usda.gov/
Environmental Organizations • Put in role of being watchdog over federal agencies • Most larger organizations have lobbyist that try to createand change legislation to be more environmentally friendly • Can insure that regulations are enforced by suing federal agencies that do not follow regulations • Span a wide range of interests and level of participation for members
Mainstream Active Groups • Lobby the local, state, and federal government on environmental issues • Membership is active, with local chapters that meet and haveoutings • Volunteerism keeps organization going; few paid positions • Inform membership of issues with publications; can mobilizemembership for lobbying and protesting efforts http://www.sierraclub.org/ http://www.iwla.org/ http://www.audubon.org/
Mainstream Passive Groups • Mostly lobby and operate on a federal/national level • Membership dues go to hiring personnel; volunteerism isnot relied upon • Rarely have local chapters to help with local issues • Contact with membership is almost solely through publicationsand e-mail nature.org www.environmentaldefense.org www.wwf.org
Radical Groups • Members are called to action; very few passive members • Action is often of a radical nature (spiking trees, burning development, tree sitting, etc.) • Very little, if any, lobbying • Some are extremely secretive about membership www.earthfirst.org www.earthliberationfront.com www.greenpeace.org
Environmental Legislation ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS ARE PASSED BY POLITICIANS TO UNDERSTAND THE ROOT OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND POLITICS
Federal Politicians POLITICIANS: Officials elected to represent constituents PRESIDENT: Only one. Elected by national vote Represents entire country (4 yrs.) SENATOR: Two elected from every state Represent their state (6 yrs.) CONGRESSMAN: Multiple (usually) elected from each state Represent congressional districts (2 yrs.)
Federal Politicians GETTING REELECTED GOAL: HOW DO THEY GET REELECTED? (1.) Get benefits for home district Federal funding for local projects Protect local industries EXAMPLES: West VA politicians oppose restrictions on coal Michigan politicians oppose auto regulations Georgia legislators oppose military cuts; support funding for new planes at Lockheed
Federal Politicians GETTING REELECTED GOAL: (2.) Short-term benefits to constituents Surplus = pay down debt or tax breaks? "What have you done for me lately?" “Members of both major parties realize that global warming is a long-term problem that carries little short-term political risk. By the time their inaction causes big trouble - perhaps decades from now - they’ll be long gone. But if they foul up the economy, they’ll be sent home next Election Day.” Time Magazine, April 9, 2001
Federal Politicians GETTING REELECTED GOAL: (3.) Raise tons of money for reelection campaign No term limits on senators/congressman Campaigns every 2 (Cong.) or 6 (Sen.) yrs CAMPAIGNS AREN’T CHEAP… WINNING CAMPAIGN COSTS (2006): Senator (6 yrs): $9,600,000 Congressman (2 yrs): $1,250,000
What’s the money for? CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES: TV ads, radio ads, workers, web sites, bumper stickers, billboards, traveling expenses, cool lookin' buttons... QUESTION: Does having more campaign money help? ANSWER: THE CANDIDATE WITH THE MOST CAMPAIGN MONEY WINS 90% OF THE TIME
Campaign Finance POLITICIAN'S GOAL: GET REELECTED CANDIDIATE WITH THE MOST MONEY WINS ELECTION SUCCESS: MEANS TO YOUR GOAL: RAISE LOTS OF MONEY
Where do they get the money? LOBBYISTS: Represent special interest groups Industries (e.g., oil), groups (retired people) CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS: Individuals, corporations, and lobbyists donate money to politicians for their campaigns SIDE BENEFITS: Politicians get gifts and trips from lobbyists Trips passed off as “informational”
Oil and Gas Industry Top contributors (2009) Source: Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) Year 2010 data is up to reporting by July 2010
Electric Utilities Top Contributors (2009) Source: Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) Year 2010 data is up to reporting by July 2010
Alternative Energy Top Contributors (2009) Source: Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) Year 2010 data is up to reporting by July 2010
Votes For Sale? POLITICIANS: Readily accept money and benefits from lobbyists, but claim it doesn’t affect their voting HUMAN NATURE: Are you going to give money to someone if you expect to get nothing in return?
How It Works LOBBYISTS: Want the most “bang” for their buck Money gives them incredible access to politicians Usually give more money to committee chairs Sometimes write the legislation for the Congressman Sometimes become an appointed part of the government in one of the executive agencies
Ways Money Can Kill Legislation WHILE BILL IS IN COMMITTEE: Chairperson delays or refuses to call vote on bill Bill never makes it open House/Senate for vote WHILE BILL IS UP FOR VOTE : Party leaders persuade junior members to vote a certain way on an issue Congressmen vote lobbyists’ way AFTER BILL IS PASSED: President vetoes legislation
“Riders” DEFINITION: Congressman adds clause that “rides” on another piece of legislation (often totally unrelated) HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE: Bill in Congress to give orphans in orphanages a present on their birthday Congressman from GA adds rider to get money to widen Barrett Parkway Congressman from OH adds rider to let local power company exceed set pollution limits
“Riders” PROBLEM: Politicians must vote on entire bill, including riders, with “Yes” or “No” Can any sensible politician vote against the “orphan happiness” bill due to the riders in it? RELATED ITEMS: Line item veto - ruled unconstitutional Check the next disaster aid bill that gets passed
Money, Politics, and the Environ. INDUSTRY: Wants to keep costs down; cheaper to pollute Cheaper to kill regulations than not pollute Lobby politicians to weaken environ. reg.’s (1.) Kill bills in committee (2.) Elicit votes against bills (3.) Add pro-industry riders Industry lobbyists have lots of money, can give generously to politicians Environmental lobbyists have no money, only petitions, letters from citizens
Summarizing ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Protects common resources from pollution Regulations passed by politicians POLITICIANS AND MONEY: Industry lobbyists provide gifts/donations Politicians reciprocate with favorable legislation Donations fund costly reelection campaigns Reelection = seniority = more lobbyist benefits
Passing Environmental Laws PUBLIC OPINION: Public support for environmental regulations usually high PUBLIC OPINION VS. INDUSTRY MONEY: Strong public opinion wins every time But people only get active after catastrophic environmental event or seminal book/film Love Canal in New York, Silent Spring by Carson
Passing Environmental Laws PROBLEM: Public largely apathetic about politics Working longer, no time for such things PUBLIC OPINION VS. INDUSTRY MONEY: Money wins every time when public isn’t involved Public rarely involved, so money usually wins CLASSIC ENVIRONMENTALIST APPROACH: “Educate the public”, pressure politicians Some successes, but many failures
Is it public apathy on issues? Not Very Serious 14% Is global warming a very serious problem, a fairly serious problem, not a very serious problem, or not at all serious? Very Serious 43% Fairly Serious 32% Not at all serious 7% Source: Time Magazine (April, 2001)
Public support for action? Should President Bush develop a plan to reduce the emission of gases that may contribute to global warming? No 26% Yes 67% Source: Time Magazine (April, 2001)
A lack of understanding? Are emissions of gases like carbon dioxide causing global temperature increases? No 23% Yes 64% Source: Time Magazine (April, 2001)
Empathy for Industry? When it comes to protecting the environment, does the government give in to business interests too often? No 26% Yes 69% Source: Time Magazine (April, 2001)
Personal sacrifice? Would you be willing to pay and extra 25 cents per gallon of gas to reduce pollution and global warming? No 49% Yes 48% Source: Time Magazine (April, 2001)
Personal sacrifice? Would you personally be willing to support tough government actions to help reduce global warming even if each of the following happened as a result? A mild increase in inflation Your utility bills went up Unemployment increased Yes 38% No 39% No 49% Yes 47% No 54% Yes 54% Source: Time Magazine (April, 2001)
But don’t touch my wallet to do it! People are quick to call for action, but unwilling to make necessary sacrifices Talking the talk… We’ve got to stop global warming!
Campaign Finance Resources Federal Election Commission http://www.fec.gov The Center for Responsive Politics http://www.opensecrets.org Reporter’s Reference Center on Campaign Finance Reform http://www.benton.org/neustadt/reporters/