Clean Water Act Essay, Research Paper The
Clean Water Act Essay, Research Paper
The Government and Environmental Policy The purpose of the United States?f public policy law is to implement restrictions in an effort to solve problems, which can be seen with the Clean Water Act. Public policy has also been employed to reform the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Although the United States government is noble in it?fs efforts to preserve the environment through these acts, the internal structure of public policy often retards these acts?f effectiveness. This paper will explore the many ways in which factors such as horizontal implementation, divided government and other forms of public policy affect the environmental legislation involved with the aforementioned acts. The main factors involved with the Endangered Species Act of 1973 involve horizontal implementation structure and divided government. Before one can discuss how these policies affect environmental legislation, a brief description of each must first be lucidly explained. When our government was founded, a system of checks and balances was implemented between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches to ensure that no one part of government gets too much power. Although this limits the power of any one person in government, it often slows down the ability of government because a consensus can be difficult with so many people working together. Another problem is that there are many subgovernments affecting the legislation as well, such as interest groups like the Sierra Club, Administrative Agents like the Environmental Protection Agency, and Congressional Committees. Because these groups add to the total number of people working on the legislation, the original noble ideology of making policy for the good of the nation is voided. Also because there are so many differences of opinion, few drastic changes are made, instead small incremental changes are made which take up lots of time and retard the effectiveness and enforcement of the legislation. In addition to this chaotic turmoil, four steps must be implemented in order to pass a bill. These are initiation & definition, formulation & enactment (legitimation), implementation, and evaluation. The most relevant one of these steps is horizontal implementation when one considers the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act. This policy is the process that puts a law into effect after it has been legitimized. Congress and the President set up the initial regulation of the law, but the direct responsibility of regulation is turned over to the states involved. And, of course, workset-like incentives such as taxes, fees, allowances, refunds, and liability are used to enforce the laws effectively. Horizontal implementation refers specifically to implementation with the federal government, as opposed to vertical implementation which is at the state and local levels. There are several specific concerns with horizontal implementation which include the breakdown of coordination due to the large structure of the federal government, language difficulties, lack of control due to the threat of success by one particular agency, different perspectives, and direct change of intention due to factors such as voter pressure. It?fs amazing that in the midst of all this that anything can be accomplished at all, but thanks to the drive to be re-elected, things have to get done on the federal level or else the person in question will be renounced from power. So now that a foundation of the processes controlling these acts has been established, the question arises, what exactly is the Endangered Species Act? As one author puts it, ?gThe Endangered Species Act of 1973, perhaps more than any other environmental law, dares to draw an unwavering line in the path of American progress. It boldly says in essence, ?eThou shalt not cause any species of plant or animal to go extinct.?f As the rampart transformation of natural America for exurban development, water-division projects, and timber cutting- pushes more and more species to the wall, the act is embroiled in controversy unparalleled since its passage 19 years ago.?h (Horton, pg. 68) A few other factors of definition come into play when one considers the intricacies of the Act. An animal is endangered if it is in danger of becoming extinct throughout all or most of it?fs natural range in the wild. An animal is threatened if it is very likely to fall into the endangered category in ?gthe foreseeable future?h. Endangered species have the possibility of generating boundless resources for the human race including medical uses, research purposes, and