Professor Brendon Swedlow                                                                                                              Political Science (POLS) 324

bswedlow@niu.edu    815.753.7061                                                                                                                     NIU Spring 2006

Office: 418 Zulauf Hall                                                                                                                                               MW 3:30-4:45

Hours: MW 1:00-1:50 p.m. and 4:50-5:30 p.m.                                                                                                         DuSable 459 

                       

Politics of Energy and the Environment:

Environmental, Health, and Safety Risks

Politics of Assessment and Regulation

 

Course Overview

 

Environmental issues are among the most pervasive of our time. Whether it is the loss of biodiversity, global warming, or any one of dozens of other problems we are constantly being asked to assess, environmental issues are everywhere.

Environmental issues can be challenging to understand. Environmental advocates often rely on factual claims – species loss is occurring at a certain rate, or global warming is causing increased flooding – that are disputed by others. How are we to know which claims are more nearly correct?

Environmental issues can be difficult to resolve. Factual disputes are frequently embedded in value conflicts. Many interest groups have strong views on what the relationship between humans and the environment should be. These oughts get mixed up with assessments of what the relationship is.

This course will teach you how to get answers to your questions about the environment. We will learn how to analyze disputes among environmental experts. We will study how environmental issues are perceived and addressed in the U.S. and other countries. And we will together have the opportunity to research how environmental, health, and safety risks are assessed and regulated in the U.S., Illinois, and locally.

 

Course Requirements and Participation

 

Your grade in this course will be based on class participation, two short research papers (5 pages each), and a longer research paper (at least 15 pages added to a revised version of your second short research paper). Paper due dates are provided below. Further description of what is required for the papers will be provided in class and on the course webpages.

Class participation will determine a significant part of your course grade (25%). Most days that we meet we will be discussing concepts and information related to our readings. If you engage in those discussions, you will receive credit for participating in class discussion that day. If you do not participate, you will receive no credit that day. Other ways to receive no credit for the day include: (1) cell phone or pager-related interruptions and (2) being late, stepping out of and back into class, or leaving early without good reason.

 

Required Readings

 

Required readings for the course are on e-reserves (for which a URL will be provided in class and on the course webpages) and in the following text, available at the Holmes Student Center bookstore:

Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future, 2004.

 

Recommended but not required:

 

Sheila Jasanoff.  Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1986.

 

 

Due Dates for Papers

 

February 19       Short Research Paper (5 pages; 15% of grade) on Bjorn Lomborg and the Politics of Science, due at beginning of                                  class, Monday

 

March 19           Short Research Paper on Risk Assessment and Regulation, Installment #1 

                                    (5 pages; 20% of grade), due at beginning of class, Monday              

 

May 7                Final Research Paper on Risk Assessment and Regulation, Installment #2

                                    (at least 15 pages added to a revised version of your second short research paper; 40% of grade), due at                                                beginning of finals period, Monday

                                    (DUE IN HARD COPY, POSTED TO DISCUSSION BOARD, AND ON CD AS AN MSWORD                                          DOCUMENT – PLEASE CLEARLY LABEL CD WITH YOUR NAME, POLS 324, SPRING 2007,                                 AND INCLUDE ANY SUPPORTING MATERIALS YOU COLLECTED)

 

Please do not…

·       ask for extensions on turning in your papers. Papers will be graded down one third of a grade per day that they are late.

·       ask for an incomplete in the course unless you have a very, very compelling reason to do so.

 

Definitely do not…

·       engage in “academic misconduct,” defined by the NIU Student Judicial Code as the “receipt or transmission of unauthorized aid on assignments or examinations, plagiarism, unauthorized use of examination materials, or other forms of dishonesty in academic matters.”

 

Short Research Paper on Bjorn Lomborg and the Politics of Science

 

The requirements for this paper will be provided on the course webpages and will be discussed in class (due February 19th; worth 15% of your course grade).

 

Research Papers on Risk Assessment and Regulation

 

Research papers are due in two installments on the dates given below. Paper requirements are outlined here; further guidance will be given in class and on the course webpages. All research papers should seek to answer questions 1-3 and ideally also 4-5, elaborated in a study guide available on e-reserves and the on the course webpages. Those five questions are:

 

  1. What is the risk?
  2. Who regulates it?
  3. How is it regulated?
  4. Why is it regulated the way it is?
  5. What are the consequences of regulating the risk that way?

 

For Research Paper Installment #1 (due March 19th; worth 20% of your course grade):

 

  • Choose a risk the regulation of which you wish to study from a list of 100 environmental, health, safety, and other risks that I will provide. If the regulation of the risk you want to study has been previously studied by a student, I will get you a copy of their research paper so that you can build on it in your paper. (We will discuss this in class.)
  • Write five (5) pages answering one or more of the five questions listed above. Use the study guide to identify what information is missing from existing student papers that needs to be added to improve their papers. In some cases, my comments on student papers are available as further guidance on what is needed to improve them.

 

For Research Paper Installment #2 (due May 7th; worth 40% of your course grade):

 

·       Respond to my comments (or the comments of my teaching assistant, James Bagaka) on Installment #1 by making revisions or taking the paper in the direction we advise.

·       If interviews of regulatory officials and/or others are required to advance the research of how your risk is regulated, you will need to read a book chapter and some other guidance on interviewing that is available on the course webpages. My Interview Guide discusses typical reasons to do interviews and how you can determine whether interviews are necessary (which we will also discuss in class). Please do not attempt to interview anyone until you have discussed your plans with me.

·       Write at least 15 pages beyond the five pages written for Installment #1, answering three or more of the five questions listed above. Integrate revisions to your five page paper with the 15 plus additional pages, and turn in the five page paper with our comments so that we can see how you have incorporated them into your final paper. Again, if you are building on the work of other students, use the study guide and any comments I may have made on the prior work by students to improve their papers.

 

Department of Political Science Announcements

 

Undergraduate Writing Awards

 

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department's spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28, 2007.  All copies should have two cover pages - one with the student's name and one without the student's name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year's competition even if the student has graduated.

 

Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

 

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.

 

Department of Political Science Web Site

 

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.

 

 

 

Reading Assignments and Discussion Topics

 

 

WEEK 1 True Warnings or False Alarms? What an Answer Might Look Like

 

Reminder: NO CLASS MONDAY, JAN. 15, MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “True Warnings and False Alarms.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 1-10.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Lawless’s Era: 1948-1971.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 22-44.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Evaluating the Lawless Warnings: True or False?” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 63-73.

 

WEEK 2 True Warnings or False Alarms? What an Answer Might Look Like

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Coding the Cases.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 74-86.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Hallmarks of True and False Alarms.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 87-96.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Hindsight and Foresight.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 97-109.

Swedlow, Brendon. (2005). Review of “Allan Mazur’s True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971,” Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future, 2004. In Environmental Science and Policy, 8, 4: 432-435.

 

WEEK 3 But is it True? Skepticism, Environmentalism, and Biodiversity Loss

 

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Things are getting better.” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 3-33.

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Biodiversity.” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 249-257.

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Predicament or Progress?” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 327-352.

 

WEEK 4 Today’s Biggest Environmental Issues? Oil Addiction and Global Warming

 

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Energy.” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 118-136.

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Global warming.” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 258-324.

 

WEEK 5 How Do We Know What We Know? Understanding the Politics of Science

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Why Experts in Technical Controversies Disagree.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 45-62.

Swedlow, Brendon. (2006). “The Political Struggle for Scientific Authority: Pollution and Purity Claims among Owl and Forest Scientists and their Allies and Opponents.” Under submission, Social Studies of Science. pp. 1-25.

 

Science, Policy, and Politics: Learning from Controversy Over The Skeptical Environmentalist. (2004). Edited by R.A. Pielke, Jr. and S. Rayner. Environmental Science and Policy, 7, 5 (Special Issue). http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/publications/special/pielke_tse_debate.html

 

Please Note: You are NOT expected to read in their entirety any or all of the articles in this special issue of Environmental Science and Policy. Just skim titles, section headings, and text to find passages that help you understand the politics of science in general and the controversy surrounding Bjorn Lomborg in particular.

 

 

WEEK 6 NIU Project on Risk Regulation Regimes in the U.S., Illinois, and Europe

 

Short Research Paper (5 pages) on Bjorn Lomborg and the Politics of Science due Monday,

February 19th, beginning of class (in hardcopy and posted to discussion board)

 

Kaplan, Michael S., Robert Donkers, Meghan Purvis, Ernie Rosenberg, Jonathan B. Wiener.

(2006). “Who’s Ahead In Environmental Protection: The United States or the European Union?”

The Environmental Forum. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Law Institute. pp. 46-52.

 

Swedlow, Brendon. (2007). “An Invitation to Generalize about Regulation and Governance:

Nested Analysis of Representative Cases through Faculty and Faculty-Student Collaboration,”

Under submission, Regulation and Governance. pp. 1-24 (approximately).

 

Swedlow, Brendon. (2005). “Study Guide for Risk Regulation Research.” pp. 1-14.

 

Please Note: This week we will also read one or more student research papers (from

previous courses) on risk regulation in Illinois. One or more students will also discuss their

research results and experiences in class.

 

 

WEEK 7 How Do We Know What’s Dangerous? Risk Assessment and Management

 

 

Andrews, Richard N. L. (2006). “Risk-Based Decision Making: Policy, Science, and Politics.” In Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, Sixth Edition, Norman J. Vig and Michael E. Kraft, eds. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. pp. 215-238.

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “What Are Risk Regulation

Regimes? Why Do They Matter?” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin,

The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University

Press. pp. 3-19.

 

 

WEEK 8 What Are Risk Regulation Regimes? Nine British Regimes Compared

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “The Comparative Anatomy of Risk Regulation Regimes.” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 20-35.

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “Nine Risk Regulation Regimes Compared.” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 36-58.

 

 

WEEK 9        NO CLASS MARCH 10-18TH, SPRING BREAK

 

 

WEEK 10 What Explains Differences?  Market Failure, Public Opinion, Interest Groups

 

 

Short Research Paper on Risk Assessment and Regulation, Installment #1 (5 pages) due

Monday, March 19th, beginning of class (in hardcopy and posted to discussion board)

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “How Far does Context Shape Content in Risk Regulation Regimes?” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 61-69.

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “Regime Content and Context Revisited: An Overall Picture.” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 133-144.

 

 

WEEK 11 What About the U.S.? Federal Environmental Policies and Policymakers

 

Vig, Norman J. (2006). “Presidential Leadership and the Environment.” In Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, Sixth Edition, Norman J. Vig and Michael E. Kraft, eds. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. pp. 100-123.

Kraft, Michael E. (2006). “Environmental Policy in Congress.” In Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, Sixth Edition, Norman J. Vig and Michael E. Kraft, eds. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. pp. 124-147.

O’Leary, Rosemary. (2006). “Environmental Policy in the Courts.” In Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, Sixth Edition, Norman J. Vig and Michael E. Kraft, eds. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. pp. 148-168.

 

WEEK 12 What About the U.S.? Risk Assessment and Regulatory Innovation at EPA

 

Rosenbaum, Walter A. (2006). “Improving Environmental Regulation at the EPA: The Challenge in Balancing Politics, Policy, and Science.” In Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, Sixth Edition, Norman J. Vig and Michael E. Kraft, eds. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. pp. 169-192.

Fiorino, Daniel J. (2006). “Stepping Stones or Just Rocks in the Stream? The Reinvention Era.” In Daniel J. Fiorino, The New Environmental Regulation.  Cambridge: The MIT Press. pp. 121-155.

 

WEEK 13 How Do We Know What We Know? The Media, Culture, & Risk Perception

 

Swedlow, Brendon. (1995). “Reporting Environmental Science.” In Aaron Wildavsky, But Is It True? A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.  pp. 375-394.

 

Coyle, Dennis J. (1994). “’This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land:’ Cultural Conflict in Environmental and Land-Use Regulation.” In Politics, Policy & Culture, Dennis J. Coyle and Richard J. Ellis, eds. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 33-50.

 

WEEK 14 How Do We Know What We Know? Culture and Risk Perception

 

Ellis, Richard J. and Fred Thompson. (1997). “Culture and the Environment in the Pacific Northwest.” American Political Science Review, 91, 4: 885-897.

 

Slovic, Paul, James Flynn, C.K. Mertz, Marc Poumadere, and Claire Mays. (2000). “Nuclear Power and the Public: A Comparative Study of Risk Perception in France and the United States.” In Cross-Cultural Risk Perception: A Survey of Empirical Studies. Ortwin Renn and Bernd Rohrmann, eds. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 55-102.

 

 

WEEK 15 How Does Regulation Matter? Adversarial Legalism and Environmental Law

 

PRESENTATIONS OF YOUR RESEARCH

 

Kagan, Robert A. (2001). “Adversarial Legalism and Regulatory Style.” Adversarial Legalism: The American Way of Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 181-206.

 

Kagan, Robert A. (2001). “Economic Development, Environmental Protection, and Adversarial Legalism.” Adversarial Legalism: The American Way of Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 207-224.

 

 

WEEK 16 How Does Regulation Matter? Corporate Environmental Performance

 

PRESENTATIONS OF YOUR RESEARCH

 

Kagan, Robert A., Neil Gunningham, and Dorothy Thornton. (2003). “Explaining Corporate Environmental Performance: How Does Regulation Matter?,Law and Society Review 37, 1: 51-89.

 

WEEK 17 FINALS WEEK (NO FINAL, BUT…)

 

FINAL RESEARCH PAPER DUE AT BEGINNING OF FINAL EXAM PERIOD, MONDAY, MAY 7, 4-5:50 P.M. (IN HARD COPY, POSTED TO DISCUSSION BOARD, AND ON CD AS AN MSWORD DOCUMENT – PLEASE CLEARLY LABEL CD WITH YOUR NAME, POLS 324, SPRING 2007, AND INCLUDE ANY SUPPORTING MATERIALS YOU COLLECTED)

 

PRESENTATIONS OF YOUR RESEARCH