Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Crisis and the Policy Process: A Comparative Policy Network Analysis in United States and in Ghana.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been globally classified as a chemical substance of harm to flora and fauna. By virtue of this classification, PCBs have become an issue among well-meaning governments, non-government organizations, media, academics, and societal groups in the policy network. This is especially so within the discourse of industrial development and environmental justice, environmental policy frameworks, and public participation in policymaking process. In Ghana, research shows that PCBs have become ubiquitous. However, the country's existing environmental protection policy framework does not adequately address the problem, unlike in the U.S. This inadequacy is considered a policy failure, which has led to large-scale environmental injustice from an historical point of view. There are underlying factors leading to this policy failure, which merit researching. The policy process leading to the ban of PCBs in the U.S. in 1979 provides a unique case to contrast the PCBs case in Ghana, while at the same time underscoring how the U.S. policy facilitated conditions of environmental injustice in Ghana. The paper is divided into four main themes: Introduction; The PCBs cases in the U.S. and in Ghana; Fieldwork and Analysis; Conclusion. In my introductory theme, I will look at industrialization and the environment justice frame that emerges as a result of a hegemonic order that exists between developed and developing nations. I will also look at environmental policy frameworks and the discourse on the dynamics of policy networks and processes. The section also reviews literature on public engagement with a focus on public participation as a modest way of expanding the policy network. Finally, I review the polity and policy frameworks in Ghana from an historical perspective to underscore the basis of environmental policy in the country. In the PCBs cases in the U.S. and Ghana theme, I foremost provide a brief about the history of PCBs and then proceed to the historical problematization of PCBs in the U.S., and the policy process that ensued afterwards. I then look at the PCBs case in Ghana from a historical perspective through the lenses of Ghana's quest to expand access to electricity as a catalyst for socioeconomic growth. My fieldwork and analysis theme points to the methodology and the tools and techniques that were utilized in my research. Interviews and questionnaires responses, literature, court, policy, and institutional documents formed the backbone of my analysis. The last theme, which is the concluding part of my paper, discusses my summary and understanding of the policy process for the two countries and points out my observations. The chapter also offers recommendations as part of my contributions to the policy process, particularly in Ghana. Overall, this process provides a better comparative picture of the environmental policy process in the U.S. and in Ghana through the lenses of the policy network.