Environment Issues Research Paper

Research Paper Guidelines

A professional writing style is expected.

Qualities like spelling, punctuation, grammar, and usage are important, as they reflect on the quality of the paper and the amount of effort put into completing it.

Plan to make an oral presentation (5-7 minutes long) of your paper during the week on the paper’s due date, or possibly in the next class meeting.

Be sure to document any and all sources you consult.  A separate bibliography page with 6 or more sources is required.  No more than 40% of the sources in your bibliography can be online-only (Wikipedia is not an
acceptable source).

The Assignment:

Select an interest group or opposition movement that seeks to influence environmental policy specifically.  Only one student can report on any group or movement.

Your group can be an environmental group (i.e. Greenpeace, the Wilderness Society, Earth First!), and environmental opposition group (i.e. the Mountain States Legal Foundation, the Sahara Club), or an environmental opposition movement that isn’t centralized into a single organization (i.e. the Wise Use movement, the county supremacy movement, the property rights movement).  Students may also select an industry sector (chemical industry, timber industry, mining industry) or lobbying group advocating for an industry sector (American Plastics Council, American

Petroleum Institute), provided the paper examines that group’s positions and lobbying efforts on environmental issues only. Once you have selected your group, prepare a written report on your group, in which you answer the following questions.

How many members does the group have?  Is it a multiple-issue group, concerned with environmental issues generally, or limited to a narrower range of issues?

If an industry sector, identify the corporations that constitute that sector.  Identify the issue(s) that concern the group most. Now consider the strategies the group uses to try to influence environmental policy.  Does the group engage in traditional (direct) lobbying of officials?

Does it try to mobilize the public to pressure officials to support the group’s position?  (I.e. ‘contact your Congress member/governor’)  Does the group try to influence court decisions by filing amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs?  Does the group participate in direct action techniques or civil disobedience actions?

If so, give a specific example.  Do you think that the group uses the most effective techniques available for influencing policy?  In your opinion, what techniques (if any) does the group not use but should, and what techniques (if any) does the group use but should not?

Now think about the group’s allies and opponents.  Does your group’s mission overlap with the mission of other environmental/environmental opposition groups?  Which ones?

Identify one or more interest groups (those that are industry groups that need not focus only on environmental issues) that work in opposition to the policies supported by the group you are writing on.  If you’re reporting on an industry or environmental opposition group, identify environmental groups that oppose the industry’s (or group’s) agenda.  Does the group have allies (present or former members) in Congress or an executive branch agency?  Who?

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