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Public Policy

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Submitted By lorene
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Public Policy The case study concerning Ocean Policy Change has been an important issue for many years. There have been policy changes over the years on ocean dumping. Starting in the early 1970’s there was much controversy on environmental protection and public policy. The concerns were that there needed to be policies on ocean dumping and what measurements the government was going to take to control this practice. President Nixon stated that public policy should be “to ban unregulated ocean dumping of all material and to place strict limits on ocean disposal of any materials harmful to the environment” (Stewart et al, 2008). Hence, the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA) was passed. This policy had the strictest principles regarding ocean dumping. There was a permit system put into place which was monitored by the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers. In 1973 it was determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to terminate all dumping even it was by permit. In the early 1980’s the city of New York applied for a permit to continue dumping the sludge from the sewer plants. The city brought a federal law suit asking for continued dumping of sewer sludge. The court in turn ruled that the EPA loosen their constraints on the dumping of sewer sludge. Due to the change of Presidents in 1981, there was even more leniency about the EPA guidelines or permits. There was more flexibility in the issuance of permits. Because of the knowledge and research put into the topic of ocean dumping data suggested that ocean dumping was not as risky as first thought. Because of inflation, increased energy use and the controversy on government spending and regulations; the focus of environmental cleanup was not foremost on government minds (Stewart et al, 2008). With each change of Presidents, the policies have changed also.

It seems that some of the rules for looking at policies should be enforced a little better or taken more seriously. There should not be any policy that benefits one group or another. There should not be any one person who can influence the change of public policy. Only after much research and planning should a policy be changed. The models of policy change are exhibited in the case study such as: the cyclical thesis whereas there is a shift in public and private interest (Stewart et al, 2008, p. 147). The backlash thesis is also there with the fact that policy change will benefit one group or another (Stewart et al, 2008, p. 149). Also in regard to advocacy coalition framework this policy was changed due to factors on policy subsystems, there is interaction from different institutions that are interested in that policy; such as the EPA and the City of New York (Stewart et al, 2008). The fact that the Regan administration thought that ocean dumping and pollution was important enough to bring change or implement new policies was a good change for the environment. I feel that the most important issues are that what is safe to dump into our oceans? My concern would be that there is not enough focus on the important issues such as environmental issues. It seems that policies will shift one way or another. My thoughts are; all policies may need to be reviewed, but when concerning the environment the policies should remain strict. Our environment will be here long after any one is in office. The facts do not change; just because our government shifts its priorities every four years does not mean the way we look at policies should change.

Stewart, Jr., Joseph: Hedge, David M.; Lester, James P. (2008). Public Policy: An Evolutionary Approach (3rd ed.). United States: Thomson Wadsworth

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