This paper describes seven institutional problems that plague subnational public sector environmental decision making. These problems are: (1) turnover among decision process participants, (2) difficulties in building and maintaining expertise in government, (3) lack of credibility of participants in environmental decision making processes, (4) difficult relationships between government and the public, (5) difficult relationships among state/regional/federal governments, (6) lack of institutional support for decision makers, and (7) difficulties in making decisions under high degrees of uncertainty. These findings were drawn through extensive and intensive interactions with people engaged in environmental decision making through their roles in government, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector. It can be argued that these types of institutional problems now overwhelm other factors traditionally thought to be worse plagues upon environmental decision making, such as lack of scientific data and deficient decision making models. It can also be argued that with respect to the general practice of public administration, institutional issues associated with environmental decision making may pose the most significant challenges of all public policy issues because these problems entail scales of political, technical, ethical, and decision making complexities unmatched in other areas. Several recommendations for overcoming these problems are provided, including solutions related to pay, training, evaluation, and information technology.