Enforcing Pollution Control Laws

Enforcing Pollution Control Laws

Enforcing Pollution Control Laws

Enforcing Pollution Control Laws

Excerpt

For many years, Resources for the Future has been known as a center for research on alternatives to direct regulation in environmental management. Probably the best-known research coming out of RFF in this field has been the advocacy of effluent or emission charges by Allen Kneese. His early writings on this subject have inspired many other economists to investigate and evaluate the characteristics of such policy instruments when used in various settings.

One of the criteria called on by some researchers in their evaluations is the ease (or difficulty) of monitoring the performance of dischargers under the policy instrument and enforcing the intended behavior of the dischargers, whether it be installation of some technology, maintenance of some discharge level, or honest reporting of actual discharges. Some analysts have asserted, for example, that imposing charges on polluters presents a tougher monitoring and enforcement problem than standard methods of management -- often referred to as command-and-control regulation. But others have asserted virtually the opposite: that a charge system would be "self-enforcing." Certainly there is room here for clarification.

Monitoring and enforcing pollution control laws has another and more immediate claim to attention as a policy issue in its own right. This claim arises because evidence is accumulating, principally in surveys undertaken by the U.S. General Accounting Office for the Congress, that inadequate effort and attention are being paid to these aspects of transforming our good pollution control intentions into reality. One way of . . .

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