1st Edition

Presidential Administration and the Environment
Executive Leadership in the Age of Gridlock

ISBN 9781138124714
Published October 6, 2015 by Routledge
184 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

After sweeping environmental legislation passed in the 1970s and 1980s, the 1990s ushered in an era when new legislation and reforms to existing laws were consistently caught up in a gridlock. In response, environmental groups became more specialized and professional, learning how to effect policy change through the courts, states, and federal agencies rather than through grassroots movements. Without a significantly mobilized public and with a generally uncooperative Congress, presidents since the 1990s have been forced to step into a new role of increasing presidential dominance over environmental policies. Rather than working with Congress, presidents instead have employed unilateral actions and administrative strategies to further their environmental goals.

Presidential Administration and the Environment offers a detailed examination of the strategies and tools used by U.S. presidents. Using primary sources from presidential libraries such as speeches and staff communications, David M. Shafie analyzes how presidents such as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have used alternative executive approaches to pass environmental policies. From there, Shafie presents case studies in land management, water policy, toxics, and climate change. He analyzes the role that executive leadership has played in passing policies within these four areas, explains how this role has changed over time, and concludes by investigating how Obama’s policies compare thus far with those of his predecessors.

Shafie’s combination of qualitative content analysis and topical case studies offers scholars and researchers alike important insights for understanding the interactions between environmental groups and the executive branch and the implications for future policymaking in the United States.

Table of Contents

1. Environmental Policy Gridlock. 2. Greening the Administration. 3. Managing the Commons. 4. Water Quality. 5. Toxic Communities. 6. Climate Change. 7. Conclusion: Managing Chronic Gridlock.

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David M. Shafie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Chapman University.


"In Presidential Administration and the Environment, David M. Shafie uses data from presidential libraries, executive orders, and interviews with key interest group leaders and agency staff to examine largely unexplored questions about how presidents use executive authority to advance their environmental policy agendas in the face of persistent legislative gridlock. This is an original, perceptive, and significant assessment of executive leadership in public lands management, water policy, toxic chemicals, and climate change, with particular attention given to the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama."
—Michael E. Kraft, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

"Presidential Administration and the Environment is a comprehensive review of environmental policy in a constantly changing and combative political landscape. In an easy-to-read analysis, David M. Shafie not only reviews the past twenty years of environmental policymaking but also provides valuable insights for future strategies in dealing with critical environmental issues of our time."
—Michael P. Dombeck, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, 1997-2001 & Director of the Bureau of Land Management, 1994-1997

"The book is well written and relatively easy to understand. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduate collections and above." -- CHOICE, B. W. Monroe, Prairie View A&M University