scriptive, limiting the agency to the terms of the statute (for example, the 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act).

In addition, many authorizing or enabling acts focus on a single mission or a single domain—water or energy, for example—even if the domain is part of an interconnected resource system. For example, as noted in Chapter 1, water and energy are interrelated in many circumstances, yet water quality is within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and water supply and flow are largely governed by state law and several federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) at the Department of the Interior (DOI), while energy is within the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy (DOE), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at DOI, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Nonetheless, within this complex institutional context and statutory provisions, there is often delegated discretion and hence maneuverability—so-called “white space”—for creative or innovative individuals and agencies.

The pejorative, but nonetheless accurate, description for this fragmentation of authority is the stovepipe or silo effect: Each agency focuses on implementing its own statutory mandate (Kettl, 2002). There is a rational justification for this phenomenon—namely, the agencies were created as repositories for expertise and experience in a particular area (Kagan, 2001), so they appropriately concentrate on that area and not on matters outside their jurisdiction. But there are consequences for concentrating in this way: It often leads to silo-based approaches to interconnected systems.

Within each agency, there are scientists, economists, engineers, lawyers, and other personnel all focused on the same set of issues, enabling the agency to bring an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving in that domain. Their reach does not, however, extend to connected domains. In fact, when two or more agencies (or distinct parts of a single agency1) share responsibility for an interconnected system or a single geographic location, the reality of fragmented authority is a huge challenge for successful collaboration. Multiple agencies often share responsibility for a domain. Consider the Mojave Desert, where the land is subject to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service; four separate agencies within DOI, including BLM, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Park Service (NPS); DOE (which has responsibility for a large alternative energy facility); and the Department of Defense (DOD) (which has six military bases with all branches of the service present). The presence of multiple agencies means multiple and sometimes conflicting goals, as well as multiple leaders who have to sort out their respective roles and responsibilities while remaining faithful to their agencies’ mandates.


1For example, both air and water are within the jurisdiction of EPA, although each is housed in a separate office, operating under two separate statutes, the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 7401 et. seq, and the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. Sec 1251 et.seq.

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