Dr. Sara Rinfret

Hartwick’s Rinfret Co-Authors Book on Environmental Regulation

November 30, 2012

Hartwick College Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Sara R. Rinfret will soon release a book titled "The Lilliputians of Environmental Regulation - The Perspective of State Regulators."

The piece, published by Routledge in its Research in Environmental Policy and Politics series, will serve to advance the debate on the future of environmental regulation in the U.S.

According to the publisher's website, "When we think about environmental policy and regulation in the U.S., our attention invariably falls on the federal level and, more specifically, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Although such a focus is understandable, it neglects the actors most responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the nation's environmental laws - the states. Recognition of the importance of the states still ignores an even smaller subsection of actors, inspectors. These front-line actors in state environmental agencies are the individuals responsible for writing environmental rules and ensuring compliance with those rules. They play an important role in the environmental regulatory state.

"With data collected from more than 1,200 inspectors across 17 states, [co-authors] Michelle C. Pautz and Sara R. Rinfret take a closer look at these neglected actors to better understand how environmental regulators perceive the regulated community and how they characterize their interactions with them. In doing so, they explore the role these front-line actors play, what it is like to be them, what they think of their place in the environmental regulatory system, and how they interact with the regulated community."

Reviews of the work to date include:

"In this extensively researched and engaging book, Pautz and Rinfret dispel a number of myths about the frontlines of state-level environmental regulation in the United States. The findings underscore the potential for and value of a partnership between regulators and regulatees in bringing about compliance. The book should be read by those who are concerned with improving the implementation of environmental regulations." - Peter J. May, University of Washington

"Environmental regulation today is widely criticized for many alleged failings without much understanding of how the system of federal and state policy implementation actually works, and whether proposed alternatives to regulation would do any better. This unique volume contributes significantly to our understanding of environmental policy by offering extensive new data on and many new insights into a critical but neglected component of the regulatory system-the work of front-line professionals at state agencies, the Lilliputians, whose daily and often positive interaction with the targets of regulation is critical to its success." - Michael E. Kraft, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay 

 "The Lilliputians of Environmental Regulation - The Perspective of State Regulators" will be available for purchase at

For additional information, contact Rinfret at 607-431-4586 or

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031