Environmental Policy here means governmental action to protect the natural and built environment from the harmful effects of technological and economic activities. From the mid-1970s onwards the Green Parties have played a particularly important role in the environmental protection movement. Principal issues included the controversy regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy (Zwentendorf nuclear power plant) and the river power plant project in the Hainburg Au (Occupation of Hainburg-Au). The Federal Ministry for (Environmental Affairs was established in 1972; however, the Ministry had relatively few competences and was understaffed up to the late 1980s. The 1980s and 90s, on the other hand, were characterised by considerable pressure in favour of environmental protection, resulting in fairly extensive legislation (Chemicals Act, Smog Alert Act, Air Pollution Act, Packaging Recycling Regulation etc.). Several branches of Austrian industry, especially the metal casting, glass, chemical and paper industries consider Austria´s strict environmental regulations as disadvantageous for the international competitiveness.
Literature: V. Lauber, Umweltpolitik, in: H. Dachs et al. (eds.), Handbuch des politischen Systems Österreichs, 1991.