Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 277–288 | Cite as

Making sense of the front lines: environmental regulators in Ohio and Wisconsin

  • Michelle C. Pautz
  • Sara R. RinfretEmail author


Although about 90% of environmental policy is delegated to the states for implementation, the individuals responsible for implementing a majority of that policy are largely understudied. Existing acknowledgment of these regulators typically extends only to the regulatory enforcement strategy their agency employs. Missing in these conversations is a focused study on the regulators themselves and their perceptions of the regulated community that they interact with daily. Understanding these perceptions will provide insights into how regulators approach their interactions and how they ensure regulatory compliance. This paper uses an exploratory case study approach to focus on front-line regulators with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via agency-wide surveys. Findings from the surveys reveal generally positive perceptions of the regulated community in both states and experiences with them. The findings call attention to a neglected population and emphasize the importance of regulators’ perceptions in their regulatory approach.


Front-line regulators Wisconsin Ohio OEPA WI DNR Environmental policy 


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Copyright information

© AESS 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of DaytonDaytonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceHartwick CollegeOneontaUSA

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