Publisher description for The Environmental Protection Agency : asking the wrong questions / Marc K. Landy, Marc J. Roberts, Stephen R. Thomas ; foreword by Morris K. Udall.
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This book focuses on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to explore critical problems of modern government and democratic politics. The volume chronicles the EPA from its founding in 1970 to the end of the Reagan Administration. Its centerpiece is a set of five specific cases,
each of which explores a different dimension of the agency's activities. The performance of the agency is judged on the basis of four specific standards: fidelity to technical merits, promoting civic education, responsiveness to the public, and building institutional capacity. The authors view the
central task of the agency's senior officials to be the promotion of three critical processes that foster those values: deliberation, integration, and accountability. Departing from the narrow focus upon specific outcomes that has dominated the academic study of public policy, the text argues that
public officials have a deeper responsibility to preserve and promote the constitutional democracy. They ought not try to tell citizens what to think. But they should use their stature and expertise to frame questions so that public debate can be made coherent and intelligible. They must tease
out the essential social and ethical issues from the welter of scientific data and legal formalisms in which those issues are enveloped. The book seeks to uncover the mistaken premises that have clouded and distorted debate about environmental policy and have led to some poor policy decisions. It
depicts the serious consequences which have resulted from asking the wrong questions and discusses what questions the EPA should be encouraged to ask, and answer, and how the agency can be encouraged to do so.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
United States. -- Environmental Protection Agency.