The Irish Institute at Boston College is please to have hosted the Environmental Policymakers Program, which took place April 6 – 20, 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois. The program focused on the common problems facing the natural environment across all of Ireland/Northern Ireland, and the political and economic costs and benefits of tackling them. Environmental policy is increasingly multi-state in its construction and implementation. The program will highlight how nations in the Americas and the American states cooperate on environmental issues. Environmental protectionists in Ireland and Northern Ireland face many of the same challenges that the EPA and DEP regulators face in the United States. Directives handed down from the increasingly powerful federal bureaucracy in Europe have to be implemented by local administrators. Local practices have to be changed and lifestyles are affected. Education is important and on this program we will look at innovation in self-regulation with the Maine Lobstermen and the enormous collaborative efforts of the Great Lakes and Chicago Wilderness Project.
The group contained a mixture of regulators and researchers along with a representative from an environmental watchdog group from Northern Ireland and Ireland. The aim was to generate a greater understanding for the limitations that the stakeholders work under and the challenges that they face. The visit to Chicago gave the group a chance to witness the cooperation between Canadian and United States officials for the protection of a shared resource in the Great Lakes. In Boston, the group met with the EPA and DEP to discuss the trends in regulation, particularly self-regulation and community regulation.