Congressional Members Research Paper

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In addition to the several environmental players within the federal government, state agencies and state courts are major participants in the implementation of environmental laws. Until 1970 Congress and the states considered environmental protection to be primarily a local concern. Decentralized environmental decisionmaking was thought to conform best to principles of federalism because it allowed value-laden policy choices to occur at the level of government closest to the region and the citizens that these decisions would affect. 6
Warring political factions within and among states, competition between states for natural resources, and pollution that cut across state lines, however, ultimately led to widespread recognition of the need for an overarching national policy of environmental protection. 7
In response to that need, Congress passed many federal environmental laws that simultaneously embody national goals and rely on states to implement federal guidelines through the exercise of state police powers.8 At first blush, imposing national rules might seem at odds with the traditional principles of federalism Protecting the Environment Money, economy, environment isn’t in danger One study reported that most critics are opposed to a greener society because they believe it is being approached in the wrong way. In fact, studies have concluded that the people who are most environmentally conscious are those who are more likely to travel across the ocean on large flights and buy foreign vehicles that require shipping. This often outweighs the efforts that they make to live a greener lifestyle. Fiscal mismanagement EPA director Anne M. Gorsuch resigned under fire in 1983 during a scandal over mismanagement of a $1.6 billion program to clean up hazardous waste dumps. Gorsuch based her administration of the EPA on the New Federalism approach of downsizing federal agencies by delegating their functions and services to the individual states.[42] She believed that the EPA was over-regulating business and that the agency was too large and not cost-effective. During her 22 months as agency head, she cut the budget of the EPA by 22%, reduced the number of cases filed against polluters, relaxed Clean Air Act regulations, and facilitated the spraying of restricted-use pesticides. She cut the total number of agency employees, and hired staff from the industries they were supposed to be regulating.[43] Environmentalists contended that her policies were designed to placate polluters, and accused her of trying to dismantle the Agency.[44] In 1982 Congress charged that the EPA had mishandled the $1.6 billion toxic waste Superfund and demanded records from Gorsuch. Gorsuch refused and became the first agency director in U.S. history to be cited for contempt of Congress. The EPA turned the documents over to Congress several months later, after the White House abandoned its court claim that the documents could not be subpoened by Congress because they were covered by executive privilege. At that point, Gorsuch resigned her post, citing pressures caused by the media and the congressional investigation.[45] Critics charged that the EPA was in a shambles at that time.[46] The Law: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (also known as Waxman-Markey) National Environmental policy act Henry Waxman stood up against President Reagan's efforts to roll back the Clean Air Act in the 1980s Controversy over the Alaska Oil Pipeline was brought to a close only when Congress decreed the environmental impact statement process was completed. NEPA had other unexpected results. The Courts interpreted NEPA to cover not only direct impacts from federal projects and activities but also indirect effects. These indirect effects might include increased traffic or secondary development from projects. For example, the initial proposal