Valuing Clean Air: The EPA and the Economics of Environmental Protection

Charles Halvorson. Oxford Univ, $35 (312p) ISBN 978-0-19-753884-5
Management consultant Halvorson traces the history of the Clean Air Act and the “regulation of air pollution” in his comprehensive debut. Before the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the idea that the federal government had a responsibility to keep the environment clean was a far-fetched one, Halvorson writes. The Clean Air Act of 1963 gave the government some control, but it wasn’t until the EPA came along that a “sweeping transformation in environmental politics” took place. Halvorson tracks the conception of the agency as the environmental movement grew (and was given a shot in the arm by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring), and describes Richard Nixon’s original mandate that it be a “doer,” not a “thinker.” As the author covers shifts in the face of political bickering and attempts to balance economic concerns with environmental ones, he convincingly makes a case that the politicization of science in policymaking finds its roots in the early days of the EPA. Though it’s often academic in tone, readers willing to stay the course will find a solid introduction on how a single, little-known agency became the epicenter of a fight over regulation and the state’s role in protecting the planet. Climate-minded readers with an interest in policy will find this a valuable resource. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/28/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-19-753887-6
Book - 978-0-19-753886-9
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