George W. Bush's Healthy Forests
Reframing the Environmental Debate
Publication Year: 2005
"Vaughn and Cortner argue that the weakening of environmental laws was by design, not a byproduct of budget cuts. . . . The authors argue that the Bush administration succeeded because it cast environmentalists as 'nuts' and 'extremists,' in spite of the fact that many environmental groups have long supported thinning of small trees around communities at the wildland-urban interface."—High Country News
This groundbreaking study analyzes the context and legal effects of the Healthy Forests Initiative, Healthy Forests Restoration Act, and related regulatory changes. The authors show how the Bush administration used news events such as wildfires to propel legislation through Congress. Focusing blame for wildfires on legal obstacles and environmentalists' use of appeals to challenge fuel-reduction projects, the administration restricted opportunities for environmental analysis, administrative appeals, and litigation. The authors argue that these tools have a history of use by diverse interests and have long protected Americans' right to question government decisions. This readable study identifies the players, events, and strategies that expedited the policy shift and contextualizes it in the president's career and in legislative and administrative history. Revealing a policy change with major implications for the future of public lands and public process, George W. Bush's Healthy Forests will become required reading in environmental studies and and political science.
Published by: University Press of Colorado
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THIS PROJECT ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED AS A RESULT OF RESEARCH AND SEMINARS WE CONDUCTED with graduate students at Northern Arizona University and their interest in administrative rulemaking within the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. The authors wish especially to thank Gretchen...
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Introduction: A Reversal of Fortunes
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ON OCTOBER 21, 2003, A SERIES OF FOURTEEN FIRES ERUPTED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. The following week, President George W. Bush declared Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura Counties major disaster areas. On November 4, with Governor Gray Davis on his left and Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger on his...
1: From Silent Spring to Luntzspeak
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A RICH HISTORY OF U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND POLITICS CAN BE TRACED BACK TO colonial times,1 but publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 is generally credited as the triggering event of the modern...
2: The Right to Object
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THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS THAT IGNITED THE DEBATE OVER WILDFIRES AND FOREST POLICIES between 2000 and 2003 are part of a somewhat arcane and poorly understood aspect of politics called administrative rulemaking. Most textbooks on U.S. politics, from elementary and secondary schools through college, ignore or gloss over this process....
3: Appellants, Strategies, Tactics and Outcomes
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DEBATE OVER REFORM OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS PROCESS WAS FRAMED, IN PART, BY undocumented examples retrieved from the institutional memories of Forest Service staff and anecdotal stories about appeals, appellants, and their motivations. They were used to prove...
4: The Wildland-Urban Interface and the Fire-Appleals Interface
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FIRE HAS BEEN A PART OF HUMAN EXISTENCE LONG BEFORE RECORDED TIME. ACCORDING TO one eminent fire historian, the earth has burned for more than four hundred million years. “For almost all the span of terrestrial life, fire has continued, to varying degrees, as an...
5: Reform by Legislation
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BY DEFINING THE FIRE-APPEALS PROBLEM IN TERMS OF PROCESS AND POINTING BLAME AT environmental groups misusing appeals procedures, Congress and the Bush administration were able to cast environmentalists as a major threat to the health of the nation’s forests....
6: Reform by Rulemaking
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HISTORICALLY, FOREST POLICY HAS BEEN DOMINATED BY THE MANAGERIAL MODEL IN WHICH government administrators were responsible for identifying policy options and making choices in the public’s interest. When the Forest Service was founded, Gifford Pinchot, the agency’s first...
Conclusion: The Spillover Effect
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ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THIS ANALYSIS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S FOREST POLICY agenda is valuable is that it is indicative of the major strategies used by the president to affect broader environmental policy change. The term often used to explain this political phenomenon....
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 1 illustration
Publication Year: 2005