The Ozone Layer: A Critical Analysis of the Management of Public Policy for Fluorocarbons

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by Robert B. Bowen, Penn State Univ, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Environmental Engineering

Abstract: As environmental public policy becomes increasingly extensive it continues to have greater impact on the lives of each American. The management of the public policy formation process varies greatly from being a largely bureaucratic regulation promulgation process to a highly politicized process where the legislature mandates to an environmental regulatory agency a specific course of action. Now, environmental public policy is sometimes international in scope where the United Nations is used as a vehicle for international treaties. A United Nations international treaty was used to mandate the phaseout of entire classes of chemicals, fluorocarbons among them, because of the perception that continued use would harm the ozone layer. Proper analysis of scientific and technical data is needed in the decision making loop to insure that regulation is not only warranted, but appropriate as being the most efficient and effective to achieve a desired goal. The 1990 United Nations treaty to phase out fluorocarbons, among the most widely used industrial chemical in the United States, was incorporated into the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment. Politicizing of the fluorocarbon public policy formation process caused vital data and technical analysis to be overlooked and resulted in what may be the most expensive and unneeded environmental regulations foisted on the American public in this century.

Subject Headings: Public policy | Ozone | Environmental issues | Agreements and treaties | Air pollution | Data processing | Chemical treatment | Data analysis | North America | United States

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