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Public Policy (Public Administration)

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The City & County of Honolulu’s FY 2017 Operational Budget has been uploaded as a Reference. If not, the direct link is provided in the Assignment.docx. The choice of the U.S. public policy is up to the writer.

Public Policy (Public Administration)

Public Policy (Public Administration) Sample paper

 

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Public policy refers to the various actions taken by the government to achieve various state objectives relating to the health concerns, education matters, morals, and the general wellness of the citizenry (Lee, Johnson, & Joyce, 2008). Public policy thus consists of courses of actions, funding priorities, regulatory measures and laws that help the government achieve its objectives. Public policy decisions reflect the needs and interests of various groups of people and individuals. They are made from the existing laws, legal precedents, and executive decisions and from policy recommendations from individuals or entities. Public policy decisions adopted by the federal government impacts the state as well as the local governments. This paper will analyze cost implication of the U.S. environmental policies to the local government in Honolulu.

The United States Environmental Policy has a number of implications to the local government of Honolulu. The environmental policy was introduced in order to control activities that have significant impacts on the environment across all member states (“ICAP,” 2012). In the face of climate change and global warming, there is need for concrete actions that can help mitigate these emerging challenges.  The major goal of the environmental policy is to safeguard the environment for future generations’ use. This involves protecting the general ecosystem and various habitats such as oceans, forests, lakes protection, bay protection and restoration, and protection of land, water and air from any forms of pollution. Common hazards covered by this policy include air pollution, oil spills, chemical pollution, climate change and other issues of concern. Environmental policy application requires the combined efforts of local, state and federal administrative bodies.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the body charged with developing and implementing programs at the state and local levels that help in adoption of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and developing climate change policies (“EPA,” 2015). The Local Climate and Energy Program is one of the programs coordinated by EAP that aids local governments achieve sustainability goals, implement clean energy strategies, and to adopt climate change policies. Local governments are key in helping achieve various environmental goals. First, local governments are instrumental in reducing emission of greenhouse gases through policy formulation. Second, local governments can help reduce air pollution especially from industries. Third, they can help lower energy costs and encourage reliance on clean sources on energy.  Lastly, local governments can help improve the security and reliability of the energy system. In order to accomplish these goals, there is need for careful resource planning especially at the local levels.

One of the most significant impacts of the United States Environmental Policy to the City and County of Honolulu involves water pollution in the Pacific Southwest. In 2010, a comprehensive agreement was reached between the City and County of Honolulu, EPA, the Justice Department, Hawaii Department of Health and among other environmental groups (“EPA,” 2010). The agreement requires Honolulu to upgrade its wastewater collection and treatment system in accordance to the Clean Water Act. This came after lawsuits were filed over ocean water pollution by wastewater from Honolulu’s treatment system. The agreement requires Honolulu to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant by 2024 to at least a secondary treatment level. The entire cost of upgrading the wastewater collection and treatment system is estimated to cost the city $3.5 billion dollars. The project is expected to be complete by 2038. This will prevent raw sewage spillages into the ocean which has had a negative impact to the marine ecosystem.

In accordance with the United States Environmental Policy, the City and County of Honolulu seeks to reduce greenhouse gas production by exploring alternative options especially in the transport sector. Greenhouse gases are largely produced by burning fossil fuels. The transportation sector consumes the largest share of fossil fuels, and thus the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The City and County of Honolulu aims at increasing reliance on renewable and clean sources of energy that have a low carbon footprint. In 2008, Honolulu launched an ambitious program dubbed the Solar Roofs initiative Loan Program that provided developers with zero-interest and low interest loans which could be used to install solar water heating systems. This was a major step in embracing clean energy and helping reduce overreliance on fossil fuels as the major source of energy.

In order to effectively address climate change and pollution issues, the City and County of Honolulu has in the past conducted educational and awareness campaigns on the impacts of climate change (“EPA,” 2010). It is important to educate people of the impacts of climate change so as to prepare them in advance. Planning in advance for the impacts of climate change is of great significance to any community. The City and County of Honolulu also encourages the formation of community stewardship groups. These groups help in implementation of various climate change policies and initiatives. The City and County of Honolulu has also taken active steps to restore natural landscape features such as wetlands, beaches, forests, floodplains, coral reefs, and dunes. Restoration of such features comes at a high cost to the City and County of Honolulu. Other climate change mitigation policies are also costly to implement.

It has become imperative to integrate climate change adaptation guidelines to the city’s plans. These guidelines will assess the impact of climate change in various areas such as coastal areas, agricultural sector, health, education and water resources. Decision-makers in the City and County of Honolulu also find it necessary to concentrate on adaptation to possible sea-level rise on its shorelines and harbor (“ICAP,” 2012). Honolulu’s economy heavily depends on its shoreline, either for tourism or transportation. A sea-level rise may heavily impact on these activities. It is projected that a sea-level rise could make the coastline more susceptible to hurricanes, wave inundation and be at risk of tsunamis. It is projected that the sea levels may rise by about 3 feet during the century. Such a sea-level rise will require adaptation strategies such as relocating vulnerable structures, protection strategies such as shoreline hardening, and accommodation measures such as increasing the ground-floor elevation of structures.

The United States Environmental Policy has a number of effects to the City and County of Honolulu’s operational budget. The benefits of the policy to the City and County of Honolulu’s operational budget is receipt of grants and other emoluments from the federal and state government (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016). The implementation of the environmental policy will greatly help in maintaining the tourism industry in the City and County of Honolulu. Honolulu greatly depends on the tourism industry as the major source of revenue. By maintaining a clean environment, the city will be able to attract more tourists to the region. Climate change poses great risks especially in Honolulu region. Honolulu must therefore take active steps in addressing climate change and environmental pollution issues. Dependence on alternative sources of energy such as solar will likely reduce the cost of energy and help mitigate climate change in the region.

In the 2017 financial year, the City and County of Honolulu has already set aside a total of $292 million to cater for environmental services including implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016). The budgetary allocations for environmental services are expected to increase in the coming financial years. In 2016, Honolulu appropriated $459,020 in sewer revenue. These are charges for wastewater discharge and management to residential facilities and non-residential dwellings. Honolulu plans to increase these charges in the 2017 financial year to generate a total revenue of $496,031. The cost increments upon residents comes amidst the need to improve wastewater collection and treatment system in Honolulu so as to reduce water pollution and destruction of marine ecosystem. Solid waste revenues are also projected to increase in the 2017 budget. As such, the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Policy will come at a high cost to the local government of Honolulu and its residents. Each year, the city must increase operational budget to cater towards implementation of the policy.

In conclusion, the implementation of United States Environmental Policy remains an imperative issue for the City and County of Honolulu. Climate change is a threat in major parts of the world. Honolulu greatly relies on the ocean for tourism activities and as a major transportation route through the harbor. The local government must address the impacts of climate change and ocean water pollution for these sectors to remain viable in the long-run.

 

References

Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP). (2012). Climate Change Law and          Policy in Hawaii. University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. Retrieved from:             http://seagrant.noaa.gov/Portals/0/Documents/what_we_do/toolkit/sm_climatechangelaw            andpolicy_1.pdf

City and County of Honolulu. (2016). The Executive Program and Budget Fiscal Year 2017.        Retrieved from:   http://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/bfs/bfs_docs/FINAL_Volume_1_Operating_Program_            nd_Budget_FY_2017.pdf.

EPA. (2010). Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments. Retrieved            from: https://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate

EPA. (2015). Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of a Global Action. Retreived from:             https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/cirareport.pdf

Lee, R. D., Johnson, R. W., Joyce, P. G. (2008). Public budgeting systems (8th ed.). Sudbury,       MA: Jones and Bartlett.

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