Discussion Paper

Environmental Decentralization: Seeking the Proper Balance between National and State Authority

Oct 27, 2005 | Stanley Laskowski, Richard D. Morgenstern, Allen Blackman


This paper examines the United States’ experience with environmental decentralization, focusing on the relationship between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states. It outlines the factors that are considered in determining the appropriate degree of decentralization, the advantages and disadvantages of decentralization, how the EPA-state relationship has evolved over the years, and the structural mechanisms used to ensure that there is a high degree of performance by EPA and the states in administering the programs. Program-specific examples of the EPA-state relationship are also provided.