CDavis361 - U.S Environmental Politics and Policy PO 361...

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1 U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy PO 361 Spring, 2009 Professor Charles Davis B 351 Clark Bldg. E-mail: [email protected] Phone 491-6803 Office Hours: 2-3 MWF or by appointment. This course deals with the formulation and implementation of environmental policy in the United States. I will begin by tracing the historical context of natural resource and environmental protection policies, paying particular attention to the contributions made by a few individuals who appreciated the difficulty of superimposing political arrangements upon complex ecosystems. Next, the roles played by the public, interest groups and political institutions are examined. Third, attention is directed to specific policy problems within the U.S., focusing on both the conservation of natural resources and pollution control. In each case, we consider environmental politics within the context of competing values. What sorts of tradeoffs are confronted when policymakers wrestle with either natural resource or pollution control issues? Can ecological health be reconciled with the desire to achieve economic growth or to preserve property rights? Finally, we step back and evaluate the usefulness of environmental policies. After implementing these programs, do we have less contamination and healthier ecosystems as a result? The format of this course is lecture/discussion. Generally speaking, the first half of each class session will be devoted to lecture, although a number of topics may require the entire period to cover the assigned materials. Ideally, this will be a participatory course -- you will be prepared to discuss the readings and raise questions about its content. This format may be occasionally adjusted to include a guest lecture or video. Grades will be assigned on the basis of your performance on two exams (30% each), a term paper (30%), and a quiz (10%). Exams consist of essay questions and reflect a balance between lectures and the assigned readings. Class attendance is strongly recommended but not required.
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