1st Edition

Industrial Disasters and Environmental Policy
Stories of Villains, Heroes, and the Rest of Us

ISBN 9780813347257
Published March 1, 2018 by Routledge
278 Pages

USD $42.95

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Book Description

Environmental stories have all the elements of a good drama—villains that plunge the world into danger and heroes that fight for positive change. Industrial Disasters and Environmental Policy: Stories of Villains, Heroes, and the Rest of Us illuminates the interplay between environmental policies and the people and groups who influence their development and implementation. Through the stories of four major industrial disasters—the Union Carbide plant explosion, the BP oil spill, the Upper Big Branch

Mine explosion, and the asbestos poisoning in Libby, Montana—this book examines the organizational breakdowns and regulatory lapses that caused these disasters, and how attitudes and policies changed as a result. It also explores the achievements of environmental heroes like Gaylord Nelson and Judy Bonds and how their activism has shaped US environmental politics and policies.

Industrial Disasters and Environmental Policy concludes with a discussion of how the "rest of us" can participate in everyday environmental actions, hold corporations and the government accountable, and lobby for greater environmental protections. With its compelling stories and calls to action, this book helps students understand how US environmental policies have developed and transformed—and how they can continue to do so.

Table of Contents


1. Telling Stories: Villains and Heroes in Environmental Policy

2. The Night of the Gas: Union Carbide in Bhopal, India

3. Deep Trouble: The BP Oil Spill

4. Appalachian Coal Country: Explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine

5. The Town That Became a Superfund Site: Asbestos in Libby, Montana

6. Environmental Heroes: Nelson, Ruckelshaus, and Bonds

7. The Rest of Us: Learning How to Be Environmental Heroes

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Denise Scheberle is a clinical teaching professor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is professor emerita and former Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the recipient of the APSA Distinguished Teaching Award. She is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the American Political Science Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the University of Wisconsin Regent’s Teaching Excellence Award. She is the author of Federalism and Environmental Policy: Trust and the Politics of Implementation.


'Industrial Disasters and Environmental Policy is an exceptional book that clearly shows how stories shape our understanding of environmental policy's past, present, and future. This book truly defines the landscape of environmental policy and how we can all become involved.'Sara Rinfret, University of Montana

'Industrial Disasters and Environmental Policy belongs in any environmental policy and law course. The stories keep students engaged, and the emphasis on citizen engagement and empowerment is important and commendable.'Michelle Pautz, University of Dayton