Towards Cross-Border Environmental Policy Spaces in North America: Province-State Linkages on the Canada-U.S. Border

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Debora L. VanNijnatten


A growing number of case studies have painted a picture of a burgeoning network of subnational and cross-border regional environmental linkages along the Canada-United States border, a development which may indicate an evolution in governance arrangements such that cross-border environmental policy spaces are being created. In addition to increasing in number, this literature suggests that cross-border interactions have become more formalized, more functionally intense and increasingly multilateral, or regional, in orientation. This paper explores in a comprehensive, cross-regional manner the finding of these case studies with regard to the extent and intensity of subnational activity by examining the findings of a 2005 survey of environmental linkages between states and provinces along the Canada-U.S. border. The survey findings indicate that subnational and regional interactions have been institutionally and functionally ‘intact’ for longer than most observers of Canada-U.S. environmental relations might expect. One of the most interesting findings is that subnational and regional cross-border environmental linkages, contrary to conventional wisdom, have become more numerous over time but not necessarily more intense in functional terms. Moreover, as expected, environmental linkages are clearly regionally concentrated; clusters of highly linked states and provinces can be found along the Canada-U.S. border, particularly in New England, the Great Lakes and the Pacific Northwest. Each of the clusters – or environmental regions – exhibits unique characteristics in terms of the extent and intensity of cross-border linkages.

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How to Cite
VanNijnatten, D. L. (2006). Towards Cross-Border Environmental Policy Spaces in North America: Province-State Linkages on the Canada-U.S. Border. AmeriQuests, 3(1).
Author Biography

Debora L. VanNijnatten, Wilfrid Laurier University

Debora L. VanNijnatten is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research focuses on various aspects of Canadian-American environmental politics, including transboundary decision processes, air quality policy, climate change policy and state-province policy innovations. She is co-editor of Canadian Environmental Policy: Context and Cases (Oxford, 2002), and recent work has appeared in Journal of Borderland Studies, American Review of Canadian Studies and successive issues of the annual How Ottawa Spends. She is currently working on a manuscript, entitled Domestic Dynamics, Continental Pull: The Canada-United States Environmental Relationship in the 21st Century. She is also co-investigator on a SSHRC-funded project investigating the relationship between economic integration and public policy in American states and Canadian provinces. She also held the Canada-United States Fulbright Visiting Chair at Duke University in 2005.