Managing Green Mandates

Local Rigors of U.S. Environmental Regulation

Federal policies have made great progress protecting the environment. But the policies sometimes have imposed inordinate costs on local governments.

Managing Green Mandates describes how various federal environmental directives do not suit diverse conditions at the local level, and compel local communities to spend their revenues on reducing relatively minor risks to the public health. While policymakers have thrown far-reaching requirements at the feet of local authorities, the federal government is providing them less aid to comply with the increasingly stringent standards. The burden of these underfunded mandates can further disadvantage many overtaxed municipalities.

Pietro Nivola is a senior fellow in the Governmental Studies program at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Laws of the Landscape: How Politics Shape Cities in Europe and America (Brookings 1999). Jon Shields is a graduate student in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia