The Effects of the CEQ within Presidential Environmental Politics

Hi all!

While I’m majoring in Government, my studies at Smith College, where I am currently in my senior year, have tended to come back again and again to the intersection at critical junctures of larger-scale politics and environmental policy making. Albeit it there is probably no subject federal and local policy free from the pull of outside political considerations, the political aspect of decision-making is deeply engrained in US environmental policy process. The passage of several packages of far reaching environmental legislation decades ago created a path dependency regulatory structure that empowered the Executive branch in both rulemaking and setting the tone for federal environmental protection priorities.

While there is significant focus on the role and power of the EPA and other executive agencies in Presidential environmentalism, there is less written on the impact of the organization meant to ensure an effective long-term national environmental plan, and act as the voice of each individual President in the public environmental discourse.

Can the achievements and general level of influence of the Council on Environmental Quality been seen as an accurate measure of the prioritization of environmental protection in, environmental policy goals of the President it serves? What can be seen as the ramifications of the growing (or at times lessening) influence of the CEQ on each administration’s long-term environmental goals?

I’m excited to discuss this topic with y’all in October, and get feedback. 

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