Fall 2017

U. S. Environmental Policy

Listed in: Environmental Studies, as ENST-252

Moodle site: Course


Jessica N. Hejny (Section 01)


Why hasn’t Congress passed any major environmental laws since 1990? Why are Republicans and Democrats so far apart on environmental issues? What power does the president have to influence environmental policy? Why are environmentalists constantly suing the government? Where is environmental policy being made if not in Congress? What has Obama done for the environment?  These are some major questions that we will explore in this course.  This course provides a comprehensive introduction to U.S. environmental policy from a historical perspective.  After reviewing the political and institutional context of environmental policy-making in the U.S., we examine the development of federal environmental policy beginning with the rise of the environmental movement and the “golden era” legislation of the 1960s and 1970s.  We then turn to critiques of the command and control model of environmental regulation, the rise of conservatism and its effects on environmental policy-making, and the pushes for cost-benefit analysis and market-based mechanisms in environmental policy.  Since the early 1990s Congress has produced very little environmental policy, but environmental policy is being made in other venues.  We examine the executive branch, the courts, states, and local collaborative governance as alternative sites of environmental policy-making.  Over the course of the term, we will ask how and why these approaches to policymaking have changed over time, we will examine how politics affect environmental policy-making, and we will compare policy-making models and venues to determine which approaches allow the government to make policy most effectively and democratically.

Requisite: ENST 120 or permission of instructor. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Hejny.

If Overenrolled: preference given to majors, then fourth, third, second, and first-year students


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018