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

 

    Polarization

   

        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,