Exploring Environmental Policy in Austin, Texas
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This applied research project focuses on exploring environmental policy at the local government level. The purpose is two fold. First, this study explores the various factors influencing the implementation of local environmental policies, including local pressures, the level of resources, political demands, and administrative capacity. The second purpose is to explore the various strategies used in local environmental policies, including market-based, information-based, and public cost strategies. In order to accomplish this, a case study was performed on the City of Austin's Air Quality Program.
From the data collected, it is clear that all predicted factors were an influence on Austin's Air Quality Program to some degree. The strongest support for the program's implementation was the level of resources influence and administrative capacity, while the political demands and local pressures influence had mixed support. One factor that was not predicted was the influence of an environmental culture in the community. Although environmental groups and interest groups were categorized with administrative capacity influence, the culture in Austin supports environmental preservation and protection. This cultural factor was an influence in the implementation of the program, and its influence on local environmental policy implementation should be further researched.
There was support to some extent for the predicted strategies used for implementation, with the strongest support for information-based policies. Some evidence suggests that market-based strategies and public-cost strategies are used in local government environmental policy, but there was little evidence to support their use in Austin's Air Quality Program.