Interactions of environmental law and economic power
Governmental intervention may be necessary to achieve the equilibrium between the competing goals 'healthy environment' and (polluting) 'economic activities'. An historical review of the developments in trade regulation, the environmental movement and the European 'greening' process is given. Governments need to develop efficient and effective environmental protection frameworks consisting of normative and non-normative instruments to achieve a socially optimal level of environmental
... A variety of these governmental power-instruments is discussed. However, 'government failures' can result from information failures, individualistic behaviour and bad management. Counter pressure opportunities of businesses to resist the impacts of governmental interference are listed. Ideally governmental decision processes are guided by social cost benefit analyses. Although the calculation is very sophisticated, it could serve for a transparent basis for discussion. The case study reveals an interaction of governmental and economic power: the intervention of stakeholders to achieve the authorisation of the antibiotic 'streptomycin' for agricultural use against fire blight in Austria, although actually forbidden in the EU, by 'danger-in-delay'-exemption. Fire blight is an highly infectious plant disease, affecting several pome fruit trees of high commercial interest. Controversies have arisen regarding the use of streptomycin, because of possible environmental deterioration, health hazards and economic damage. The environmentally safe product 'Blossom Protect' and the antibiotic are contrasted in a social cost benefit analysis. Governmental failures have been identified by the author. Interviews with qualified representatives of stakeholders have been held. The author has tried to assess the bargaining process and the stakeholders' possibilities to wield power.