The New Environmental Regulation. By Daniel J. Fiorino. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006. 290p. $23.00.
The subject matter of this book is not exactly what its title suggests. The author's attention is limited to industrial pollution regulatory policy in the United States, rather than focusing on environmental regulation more broadly. And the “new” regulation it touts is not really all that new. Daniel Fiorino does not describe and analyze something that has been invented recently, say, in the last five to 10 years, nor does he propose something wholly original or novel that has never before been tried or imagined. Many of the regulatory tools that he lumps together under the label of “new” can be traced back decades, some to even before the modern federal pollution regulatory era began in 1970, and so many of them are as old as or older than much of his “old” pollution regulation. Fiorino uses the adjective “new” because it is an inherently appealing, future-oriented label whether one is selling soap, politicians, or ideas. Although “old” hints at something worn out, no longer desirable, and perhaps near death, he does not want to bury the old regulation: “Designing and implementing a new regulation does not mean that we should do away with the old one” (p. 190). By using “old” as his label of convenience, he at least sidesteps an ideological minefield by avoiding the also-loaded label “command and control,” which is often used by political critics of adversarial, directive regulation in the public interest.