OVERVIEW: This week we continue our look at risk perception’s influence on policy outcomes. First we read Jurgen Schmandt’s article that explains how science is used in determining specific policy regulations. Milton Russell and Michael Gruber provide an interesting case study that shows how risk assessment is applied. FInally, Charles Pillar’s article examines the NIMBY syndrome and discusses whether or not it is a good thing, or if, perhaps, risk perception is significantly skewed when it comes to the public.
TIME: 4 – 5 hours
MATERIALS : Schmandt, Jurgen
Russell and Gruber
PART I: Answer the questions below as you complete the above readings. (NOTE: You do not need to turn in the answers to the questions. They are merely here to help improve your comprehension of the material.)
What is “agency rule-making” and what role does it play in the regulatory process?
What are the three phases of regulation, and from what periods did they develop?
What are some examples of “enlightenment” in pesticides and toxics?
Why was the Clean Air Act of 1967 of interest?
Are there any solutions to the problems of science-based regulation?
Why is the EPA in an “uncomfortable middle ground”?
Milton Russell and Michael Gruber
What are hazard and risk assessment, and how do they fit into the overall process of risk assessment at the agency?
Why is it so hard to figure out how dangerous chemicals might be to humans?
What was EDB, and what did the EPA do about it?
Why didn’t the EPA decide to provide a deeper earth cover for uranium mill tailings?
How does Pillar link optimism to NIMBY fights?
In what ways are NIMBY activists the new Luddites?
What connections are there between anti-project groups and religious or ethical movements?
What did Charles Pillar mean when he said Americans had a “love affair” with science?
Are there dark sides to new technologies?
Whom does Piller blame for heightened fears and concerns?
Do you agree with his conclusions?
PART II: Watch the short video by John Stossel in his series “Gimme a Break” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo2rMj8KVtQ
PART III: Complete the assignment on Blackboard.
As we have seen the past two weeks, risk perception and NIMBY groups can have both pros and cons when it comes to environmental policies. After watching the short video by John Stossell above (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo2rMj8KVtQ) find another example of where risk perception or NIMBY groups have prevented the implementation of environmental policies. First, write a few paragraphs summarizing what occurred. Second, briefly explain what you think can be done to help overcome risk perception or to prevent NIMBY groups from stopping the advancement of environmental policies.
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