Teaching Case - Environmental Protection Agency: Ruckelshaus Returns

Environmental Protection Agency: Ruckelshaus Returns


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  • Product Description

    This case summarizes the plethora of problems William Ruckelshaus faced when he returned to EPA in 1983 after the controversial Gorsuch years. Budget, personnel, organizational and program-related issues are outlined as well as assessments by congressional, press, environmentalist and industry leaders of problems at the agency as of May 1983. Of particular interest is the discussion of relations between Ruckelshaus and the White House concerning a variety of issues.

    Learning Objective:
    The case can be used to consider how best to address a crisis situation at an agency: determining priorities for action, interpreting mixed signals from the administration, and determining the extent and leverage of one's political capital. In addition, it has been taught with the following objectives in mind: (1) To examine how an administrator might restore credibility to an agency whose image has been badly tarnished, given that the short-term and long-term strategies may conflict; (2) To illuminate the inherent difficulties an administrator faces in trying to strike a balance between pleasing the executive branch and Congress, when the two have diametrically opposed policies; (3) To assess whether a new administrator can begin to alter the "framework" of the debate-in this case to introduce the notion of risk management as distinct from risk assessment.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1985
    HKS Case Number: 638.0
    Case Author: Don Lippincott
    Faculty Lead: Philip Heymann and Marc Roberts
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 25
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: US & Canada
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