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The Environmental Case

The Environmental Case
Translating Values Into Policy

Sixth Edition

July 2023 | 560 pages | CQ Press
Answers to environmental issues are not black and white. Debates around policy are often among those with fundamentally different values, and the way that problems and solutions are defined plays a central role in shaping how those values are translated into policy. The Environmental Case captures the real-world complexity of creating environmental policy, and this much-anticipated Sixth Edition contains 14 carefully constructed cases, including a new study of the Salton Sea crisis. Through her analysis, Sara Rinfret continues the work of Judith Layzer and explores the background, players, contributing factors, and outcomes of each case, and gives readers insight into some of the most interesting and controversial issues in U.S. environmental policymaking. 

Chapter 1 • A Policymaking Framework: Defining Problems and Portraying Solutions in U.S. Environmental Politics
Part I • Regulating Polluters
Chapter 2 • The Nation Tackles Air and Water Pollution: The Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts
Chapter 3 • Love Canal: Hazardous Waste and the Politics of Fear
Chapter 4 • Ecosystem-Based Management in the Chesapeake Bay
Chapter 5 • Market-Based Solutions: A Forgotten Success Story
Part II • History, Changing Values, and Natural Resource Management
Chapter 6 • Oil Versus Wilderness in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Chapter 7 • Federal Grazing Policy: Some Things Never Change
Chapter 8 • Jobs Versus the Environment: Saving the Northern Spotted Owl
Chapter 9 • Playground or Paradise? Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park
Chapter 10 • Lessons from the Fish: Crisis and Recovery in New England
Part III • New Issues, New Politics
Chapter 11 • Climate Change: The Crisis of our Time
Chapter 12 • Cape Wind: If Not Here, Where? If Not Now, When?
Chapter 13 • Fracking Wars: Local and State Responses to Unconventional Shale Gas Development
Chapter 14 • Making Trade-Offs: Urban Sprawl and the Evolving System of Growth Management in Portland, Oregon
Chapter 15 • The Salton Sea: A Desert Mirage
Chapter 16 • Conclusions: Politics, Values, and Environmental Policy Change
Key features


  • A new case study on the Salton Sea crisis looks at how natural and unnatural actions inform how we combat global climate change.
  • Updates that capture new developments in environmental politics and policy in the post-Trump era.
  • Increased focus on examining the status quo in environmental policymaking to determine whether decisions are perpetuating marginalization.
  • Two case studies have been removed to reduce the book's length and streamline its focus.


  • Engaging chapter case studies help students examine environmental policy through real-life examples.
  • Maps, tables, figures, and questions to consider are provided to help students think critically about environmental policymaking and to facilitate further research.

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