Public Opinion

The development of environmental concern


    Environmental Disasters



    Earth Day



    Disasters and the Issue-Attention Cycle   



Public Support for Environmental Protection: A mile wide and an inch deep


    Economic downturns make the environment a less important issue.



Bitter Partisan Divisions have polarized opinion on the environment today


    Political Polarization



    Partisan views of environment conditions









Organizing for Environmental Policy


Political Parties

    Background: The 2 Party System


    Bipartisanship on the environment


        The case of Republican President Richard Nixon & the Environment

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
Created the EPA in 1970
Clean Air Act Extension of 1970
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972
Endangered Species Act of 1973
Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974




        The 2012 Platforms of the Republicans and Democrats


    Stuck in the Middle: Democrats in the Coal-dependent states



Interest Groups


    The problem of collective action for "public interest" groups


            Types of incentives for members of interest groups: material, purposive, and solidary


            Environmental and public interest groups have to rely on purposive and solidary incentives


                    So they have weaker ties to members, and membership is more volatile


                    In contrast, energy groups have more defensive agendas narrowly focused on material interests



    Another problem for environmental groups: "pragmatism" versus "purity"




The Government Institutions that Make Environmental Policy


1. Congress

Congress controls laws and budgets

Most of Congress's work take place in committees and subcommittees,

Environmental policy is divided across lots of different committees

Parties organize both houses:

    Committee and subcommittee chairs are members of the majority party

    Partisanship has been intensely and divisive in recent years

    The Republics' Constituency: southern, mountain and rural

    The Democrats' Constituency: coastal, urban

a. The House of Representatives - 435`members

    i). direct election, small constituencies, 2 year terms

          Result: Representatives have a short term, relatively parochial perspective

    ii). The House is more tightly run than the Senate,