Reinventing Environmental Regulation: Lessons from Project XL

Front Cover
Resources for the Future, 2002 - Science - 242 pages
Project XL (eXcellence and Leadership) was the flagship effort by the Clinton administration for 'cleaner, cheaper, and smarter' regulation. Under Project XL, business promised better performance in exchange for a regulatory approach focused more on results than means, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measuring pollution reduction across rather than at individual sources within a facility. Reinventing Environmental Regulation is a compelling account of the breakdown in negotiations to implement Project XL at a tape manufacturing plant of 3M, a company widely recognized as environmentally progressive. Marcus, Geffen, and Sexton discuss the conflicting goals of participants, the influences of personality and organizational culture, and complications caused by changes in 3Ms external business environment. They compare the 3M case with EPA negotiations involving Intel, Merck, and Weyerhaeuser, finding similarly contentious, though less fatal disagreements about the meaning of 'superior environmental performance.' In common with other recent proposals, Project XL emphasized cooperative, flexible regulatory approaches. Reinventing Environmental Regulation demonstrates the difficulty of putting these appealing ideas into practice, while offering encouragement for continued innovations.

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About the author (2002)

Alfred A. Marcus is a professor in the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. Donald A. Geffen is research associate at the Strategic Management Research Center at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. Ken Sexton is Bond Professor of Environmental Health Policy at the University of Minnesota.

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