Presidential Administration and the Environment: Executive Leadership in the Age of Gridlock, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Presidential Administration and the Environment

Executive Leadership in the Age of Gridlock, 1st Edition

By David M. Shafie


184 pages

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Paperback: 9781138124714
pub: 2015-10-06
Hardback: 9780415626668
pub: 2013-12-16
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203102558
pub: 2013-12-17
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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.


"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

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.

About the Author

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

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Public Administration and Environmental Sustainability

Climate change, loss of habitat and biodiversity, water security, and the effects of new technologies are placing pressure at all levels of government for effective policy responses. Old policy solutions and the administrative processes associated with them are sometimes inadequate and even counterproductive for effectively addressing these sustainability issues. The challenge for societies worldwide often is how best to harness in the public interest the dynamism of markets, the passion and commitment of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, and the public interest-oriented expertise of career civil servants at all levels of government. Routledge Studies on Public Administration and Environmental Sustainability will focus on core public administration questions as they relate to the topics of environmental, energy, and natural resources policies, and which together comprise the field of environmental sustainability.

The objective is to provide a forum for addressing the range of issues of concern in the field of public administration as they bear on environmental sustainability, as well as to alert policy makers to the managerial implications of the policy choices they make. Proposals are welcome which focus on the policy and management challenges, choices, and opportunities that environmental sustainability poses for public management, especially as these relate to the managerial, political, legal, and market-related dimensions of effective public administration.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Natural Resources
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Leadership
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy