Air and Water Pollution Regulation: Accomplishments and Economic Consequences

Air and Water Pollution Regulation: Accomplishments and Economic Consequences

Air and Water Pollution Regulation: Accomplishments and Economic Consequences

Air and Water Pollution Regulation: Accomplishments and Economic Consequences

Synopsis

Based on their extensive research into the pollution-related activities of electrical utilities and companies in the pulp and paper industry, Freedman and Jaggi explore the fear that the cost of pollution abatement will damage a company's economic performance. Their findings show that while this may occur in the short run, the negative economic impact disappears over time. Authors then relate their findings to public policy issues and make significant policy recommendations. Environmentalists, corporate management, and people in government will find their findings useful and important, and quite possibly reassuring.

Excerpt

After over 20 years of federal air and water pollution regulations and billions of dollars being spent in the United States in the pursuit of cleaner air and water, certain conclusions are apparent. Clean air and water and a healthy economy are not mutually exclusive goals: It is possible to have cleaner air and water and still maintain a viable economic system. Although the goals of the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act amendments, of achieving major reductions in certain air pollutants, and of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act amendments, of achieving "water quality which provides for the protection and propagation of fish and shellfish, and provides for recreation in and on the water," wherever attainable by 1983, and of eliminating all discharge of pollutants into the nation's navigable waters by 1985, have not been reached, progress has been made toward their achievement. Despite the closing of a few plants, allegedly because of the potential costs of installing environmental controls, no great catastrophe has befallen the American economy in attempting to clean up its environment. Instead the experience has shown that a healthy economy can coexist with a cleaner environment.

What the experience has also shown is that without the cooperation of business, government and environmentalists, achievements in cleaning up the air and water will be, at best, sporadic. Air pollution is still a major problem in many of the large urban areas of the United States. Acid rain and smog have not been eliminated. People in the United States still die of disease caused or aggravated by air pollution. Moreover, the thinning of the ozone layer is getting worse, despite the stated desire of most countries to alleviate the problem by producing less carbon dioxide.

After 20 years of a major U.S. thrust to reduce pollution, the questions become, what has been accomplished and at what cost? In this book, the air . . .

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