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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

 

May-June 2017

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Lessons From State-Level and National-Level Policy Conflicts Over U.S. Shale Development

Sustainable governance of the environment requires that people and decision makers are capable of learning and adapting to new and emerging environmental issues. Yet our ability to learn and adapt can be hindered when conflicts arise over the nature of environmental issues or the appropriate policy solutions for addressing these issues. At the same time, conflicts over environmental issues often raise awareness among the media and general public, spur research or data collection, and engage competing interests to solve problems. The intensity of conflicts and how people engage in them therefore play a key role in environmental sustainability. However, the nature of environmental conflicts varies widely across issues and across levels of policymaking. How can policymakers, managers, and other interested stakeholders understand the sources, characteristics, and effects of environmental conflicts? What strategies can they use to navigate environmental conflicts toward sustainable governance? This article explores these questions within the context of policy conflicts over shale oil and gas development at both state and federal levels. 

 

Tanya Heikkila is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. She is also the Co-Director of the Workshop on Policy Process Research and the Director of the MPA Concentration in Environmental Policy, Management and Law at the university.

Christopher M. Weible is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. He co-directs the Workshop on Policy Process Research and is currently serving as the Director for the PhD Program for the School of Public Affairs.

Kristin Olofsson is a PhD student in public affairs at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs. She holds a BA in political science from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MSc in development studies from Uppsala University in Sweden. Kristin is a research assistant with the Workshop on Public Policy Research and a research fellow with the University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom. 

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