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Study looks at environmental policy

Political Science Associate Professor Christopher Reenock has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the effect of public policy on environmental risk outcomes with an eye to identifying ways to improve governance of environmental policy.

More than150 million Americans currently live in areas that are not meeting air quality standards, and more than 40,000 bodies of water are deemed "impaired" for failing to meet their use requirements. While the federal Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with managing risks associated with air and water pollution, 90% of environmental regulation is enforced by state-level agencies that have delegated such authority to regional or local offices.

Reenock and his fellow principle investigator on the grant, David Konisky of Georgetown University, received the NSF funding to investigate the environmental consequences of delegating enforcement to state regional offices. By examining the effects of these regional institutional arrangements on environmental risk outcomes, the researchers will generate information that can be used to evaluate policy prescriptions aimed at mitigating unfavorable or uneven risk levels across society.