Restoring the Capacity for Improving Environmental Affairs

A discussion on environmental regulatory improvements since the 90s

February 24, 2009
Large Conference Room, 1 Bowdoin Square, 6th Floor


Rick Reibstein, Manager of Outreach and Policy, Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance, presents "Restoring the Capacity for Improving Environmental Rules."  In addition to his work at the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance, Reibstein is lectures on environmental law and policy at both Boston University and Clark University.   

Environmental programs have brought about great progress, but have also been met with waves of great backlash.  This talk will discuss the environmental regulatory improvement efforts of the 1990s with an emphasis on:  enforcement complemented by assistance;  good faith and partnership;  and prevention.  The battles over rolling back environmental laws have obscured the achievements of the 1990s.  The change from enforcement, led to a more "relational" stance, that was surprisingly effective.  The change from control to prevention led to the idea that enviromental progress could create savings rather than costs.  In the 1990s, the Browner EPA conducted a "Common Sense Initiative," which produced such things a a guide to "Constructive Engagement", a resource for those who disagree with each other on environmental issues, but the significance of this has yet to be acknowledged.  The talk will view today's focus on energy in the context of past policy developments and suggest that participatory democracy focused on regulatory improvement is the key to accelerating enviromental progress.

This lecture is part of the Philosophy Department's Pearl Lecture Series in Philosophy and Public Affairs, and is being co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program. 

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