BOOK R E V I E W S
Environmental Politics and Policy, 6th Edition.
Walter A. Rosenbaum. 2005. CQ Press, Washington,
DC. 366 pp. $44.95 paperback.
Reviewed by Joel T. Heinen, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199
The Sixth Edition of Walter A. Rosenbaum’s much-used
volume is a necessary update for several reasons, not the
least of which is the insight provided throughout on the
environmental policy impacts of the G. W. Bush administration. Continuing changes in environmental indicators, the effects ~or lack thereof! of public opinion on environmental policies, and the emergence of new issues as we learn more about our effects upon the environment justify this
important update. In all cases, Rosenbaum, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, has done a masterful job at keeping
the older material intact while bringing in the new.
The initial chapter begins with the ﬁrst Earth Day and is a treatise on American environmentalism in transformation.
Here Rosenbaum includes sections on the emergent issue of
the 1970s and 1980s, CFCs and the ozone hole, and includes
another on the policy legacy stretching from Reagan to
Bush II. He also presents a cogent section on ongoing challenges in environmental policy, from chronic and acute underfunding, to unanticipated costs, to the emergence of
ecosystem management and sustainable development as guiding policy principles. In many ways, this chapter is a roadmap of things to come, and it provides a good overview of the book. Chapter 2 ~Making Policy: The Process! is a general discussion of the policy process itself and, as such, is quite complete and comprehensive. Five stages of the policy
cycle—from agenda setting to termination—are described,
and the author goes to some lengths to teach readers about
American concepts such as balances of power and constitutional constraints. He also informs them about the various factions of environmentalism—from pragmatists and reformers to radicals—in a way that, fortunately, is more
enlightening than pedantic. The process of informing readers about making policy is continued in Chapter 3 ~Institutions and Politics!, in which Rosenbaum articulates the roles of the President, Congress, agencies, and interest groups and describes the political environment in which policy is
created, altered, or ended.
Environmental Practice 7 (2) March 2005
These chapters combined are relevant for anyone interested in citizenship studies and the peculiarities of the American political process, but the rest of the book is more directly important for readers of Environmental Practice
and other environmental professionals. Chapter 4 delves
into risk assessment and environmental justice. It includes
a good deal of insight about the limits of science in policy and the importance of latency in chemical exposure and
threshold effects. Rosenbaum also describes the now familiar cases of the plasticizer diisononyl phthalate ~DINP! in toys and of dioxin in Times Beach, Missouri. The period
in which we live is truly unprecedented, and the risks are
now and well into the future. Chapter 5 is devoted to
regulatory economics. It discusses both the debate about
beneﬁt-cost analyses and the use of command-and-control
approaches versus the marketplace in commodities ~i.e.,
environmental amenities! famously subject to market failures. These topics are continued into Chapters 6 and 7, which deal with air and water pollution regulation and
toxic and hazardous substances. In these chapters, Rosenbaum includes a good deal of useful information on the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, NEPA ~the National Environmental Policy Act!, Superfund, and the Toxic Substances Control Act ~TSCA! in a highly readable prose. He also discusses the legislative and regulatory quagmires inherent in these approaches, which have deﬁned much...
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