Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation

From American and Comparative Environmental Policy

Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation

A Policy Approach That Works

By Steven Cohen, Sheldon Kamieniecki and Matthew A. Cahn





Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation introduces an approach to environmental regulatory planning founded on a creative, interactive relationship between business and government. The authors argue that regulation—often too narrowly defined as direct, command-and-control standard setting and enforcement—should include the full range of activities intended to influence private behavior to conform to public goals. The concept of strategic regulatory planning that the book introduces provides a model for designing more effective environmental regulation. Strategic planning requires careful consideration of the regulatory objectives, the target audiences for regulation, and the characteristics of the regulatory agency.

The two important case studies in the book—one on the use of the gasoline additive MTBE and the other on the cleanup of underground storage tanks (USTs)—apply the model, compare the approaches and results, and illustrate the advantages of a strategic approach.

The case of MTBE—in which an additive intended to produce cleaner-burning gasoline was found to contribute to both air and groundwater pollution—shows the drawbacks of top-down regulation by fragmented regulatory agencies. The success of the UST cleanup, in contrast, highlights a unique, strategic, and results-oriented approach to policy implementation. These two cases demonstrate why regulation works better in some cases than others, and the alternative approaches to regulation described in the book promise to promote the achievement of environmental quality goals.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262033411 304 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 5 illus.


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262532754 304 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 5 illus.


  • The message of this book is a clear and valuable counterpoint to those rushing to find market-based solutions to environmental protection. Cohen, Kamieniecki, and Cahn demonstrate that regulation can work extremely well without undermining business and the economy. However, absent a strategic planning approch to implementing regulatory strategies—a blueprint which they provide—the hoped for environmental improvements stand little chance of being realized. This is an important book for the new and seasoned in the debate over the efficacy of regulatory environmental strategies.

    Daniel A. Mazmanian

    Bedrosian Chair in Governance, University of Southern California

  • Useful and accessible for policy practitioners and students alike, Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation offers a realistic, pragmatic guide to strategic environmental policymaking it should serve as an important companion (and in some cases, corrective!) to policy analysis texts. In addition to providing excellent histories of MTBE and other underground storage-tank dilemmas, the book sheds much-needed light on environmental policy implementation, and in the process shows why optimism about some policy strategies really is warranted.

    Daniel Press

    Professor and Chair, Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz