The Bush administration entered office in 2001 pledging to support active collaboration with states in environmental protection and pursued this approach in some early initiatives and appointments. This emphasis was rapidly abandoned, however, in favor of an effort to recentralize oversight in a manner consistent with historic attempts to establish an administrative presidency model. In response, states have demonstrated that they are not prepared to take a back seat to the federal government, probing for areas to pursue innovative opportunities at the same time that they challenge any instances of federal overreach or disengagement that they deem problematic. The result has been a steady increase in intergovernmental conflict from the previous decade.

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