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Environmental Policy in North America: Approaches, Capacity, and the Management of Transboundary Issues, Robert G. Healy, Debora L. VanNijnatten and Marcela López-Vallejo

Reviewed by Christopher Mcgrory Klyza



“The general conclusion of this book can be summed up by saying that what we have now is not a functioning continental environmental management system, but many institutional building blocks and a reservoir of good will” (p. 184). This quotation offers a concise summary of this book, in which authors from three countries provide an introduction to the environmental policy architec­ture in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The authors provide an economic, institutional, and ecological sketch of each nation before providing more detail on the relevant components of their environmental policy agen­cies, laws, and regulations. Perhaps the central shared characteristic of the three countries is the lack of sufficient environmental capacity. For Canada and the United States, this is due to budget cuts and increasing partisanship over environmental issues, while in Mexico, it is due primarily to its compara­tive lack of fiscal resources.

Successful transboundary environmental governance, the authors ar­gue, is based on strong communication and networks, mutual understand­ing and learning, and shared resources. There are

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