Congress less likely to vote green following environmental disasters

August 20, 2007

The researchers speculate this might apply to non-environmental disasters, like 9/11 and the recent Minnesota bridge collapse
clipped from www.physorg.com

Conventional wisdom holds that environmental disasters lead Congress to toughen regulatory standards. But a new UCLA study has found that members of Congress were less likely to take pro-green positions on legislation in the wake of such disasters than at other times during the same calendar year.

The reason? Legislation following these environmental “shocks” is typically written by those with strong pro-environment voting records who propose more radical legislation. Such legislation tends to overreach, leading moderates and more conservative lawmakers to vote against the bills.

“Environmental disasters polarize the Congress; they’re not uniting Congress,” said Matthew E. Kahn, a professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and author of the study.
compared those votes with the representatives’ votes on 15 bills proposed in the direct aftermath of the following five well-known environmental disasters:
– Bhopal, India
– Three Mile Island
– Love Canal
– Chernobyl
– Exxon Valdez
  blog it
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