Department Of Political Science

Syllabus for Ecology and Politics


Instructor: JO Renee Formicola, Ph.D

Course Description:

This course examines the ecological imperative in relation to U.S. public policy on the environment. It investigates the mechanisms and factors that impact the formulation and implementation of government programs that deal with clean water. prerequisites toxic waste and endangered species.

Prerequisites: 3 credits in a basic science course.

Purpose: This course is designed to a) instill an awareness and concern for the environmental problems which impact the quality of life of each individual, 2) to develop a critical understanding of that role that government can/should play in solving these difficulties and 3) to encourage citizen participation in the public policy debate on the environment.


Course Outline

I. The Ecological Imperative

A) The Philosophical Construct

B) The Scientific Rationale

C) The Economic Perspective


II. Environmental Actors

A) The Congress

1) Environmental Advocates/The Political Melieu

2) Legislation

B) White House Policies

1) Environmental History from Theodore Roosevelt to Gerald Ford

2) Jimmy Carter

3) Ronald Reagan

4) George Bush

5) Bill Clinton

C) The Courts (key decisions)

1) The Johns Manville Suits

2) Agent Orange Cases

3) The Exxon Valdez Cases

4) Public Trust Land Cases

5) Use of Environmental Dispute Resolution


D) Regulatory Agencies

1)The Department of Environmental Protection


E) The Green Lobby

1) The Sierra Club

2) The Audubon Society


F) The Scientific Community


III. U.S. Public Policies and the Environment

A) Acid Rain (the U.S. - Canadian controversy)

B) Ozone Depletion (the Rio Summit)

C) Toxic Waste

D) Mid-Night Dumping (The Chemical Control Company)

IV. Controversies in Policy Initiation and Implementation

A) Agenda Setting/Constituencies

B) Authority Structures

C) Institutional Fragmentation

D) Cost Benefit Analyses/Conservation v. Employment

E) Returns/Incentives/off Sets/NIMBY

F) Quantitative Risk Assessment/Risk Management


V. Student Case Study Presentations

"Ecology and Politics" is offered as an elective to political science majors, environmental studies majors, and those students generally interested in examining the relationship between environmental problems and governmental attempts to solve them. It is designed to develop a critical understanding of what role the government can/should play in dealing with such public issues as well as encouraging the student, as citizen, to participate in the public policy debate on the environment.

 To this end this course requires the following.

1. Purchase of the required texts (up-dated annually)

2.A daily reading of texts and/or reserve materials

3. Daily attendance and class participation

4. Preparation for possible daily surprise quizzes

5. A mid-term

6. A term paper (15-20 pages typed, in Turabian form, with bibliography and footnotes) Papers are due on the day set in the syllabus. LATE PAPERS ARE DOCKED ONE GRADE PER DAY .

7. An oral presentation of the term paper

8. A final


Grades are determined in the following way:

Mid-Term: 25%

Paper: 30%

Final: 30%

Quizzes: 10%

Presentation: 5%


Cheating and/or plagiarism will not be tolerated and may result in the failure of the test or paper or the entire course depending on the circumstances within which the academic dishonesty has occurred. See attached.



Bosso, Christopher. Pesticides and Politics. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1987.

Dahlberg, Kenneth, Environment and the Global Arena. Durhan: Duke University Press, 1985.

Davis, David Howard- Energy Politics- New York: St. Martin's Press, l993.

Epstein, Samuel, Lester O. Brown and Carl Pope. Hazardous Waste in America. San Francisco: Sierra Book Clubs, 1982.

 Falk, Richard. This Endangered Planet. New York: Random House,

 Gittinger, J. Price, Joanne Leslie and Caroline Hoisington. Food Policy. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

Goldfarb, Theodore- Taking Sides- Clashing Views on Controversial Environmental Issues- 4th ed- Guilford, Ct: Dushkin Publishing, 1991.

Head, Suzanne and Robert Heinzman~ Lessons of the Rain Forest. San Francisco: Sierra 800k Clubsf 1990.

Kamieniecki, Sheldon. ed. Environmental Politics in the International Arena. Hovements PaKties- Organi2ations and Policy. SUNY: Albany, 1993.

McPhee, John. The Pine Barrens~ New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968.

Paehlke, Robert and Douglas Torgerson. Hanagina Leviathan: Environnental Politics ar.d the Administrative State. Lewiston, NY: The Broadview Press, 1990.

Portney, Xent. Controversial Issues in Environnental Policy. Science vs Econonics vs Politici London: Sage Publications, 1992.

Reaens Jaues and Robert Rycroft. The Acid Rain Controversy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, l988. 

Rosenbaum, Walter. Environmental Politics and Policy. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1991.

Scientific American. Managinq Planet Earth. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1990.

Switzer, Jacqueline. Environmental Politics. NY: St. Martins, 1993. 

Vig, Norman and Michael E. Kraft. Environmental Policy in the 1990ís. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1990. 

Wilson, JamesQ. Environmental Politics. NY: Praeger, 1992.