Pollution Limits and Polluters' Efforts to Comply: The Role of Government Monitoring and Enforcement

By Dietrich H. Earnhart; Robert L. Glicksman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Environmental Behavior:
Facilities’ Efforts to Comply with
Discharge Limits

5.1. INTRODUCTION

Chapter 4 describes the imposition of discharge limits on polluting facilities. This chapter describes the environmental behavior facilities show as they expend effort to comply with the imposed discharge limits. With both descriptions in place, we probe the obvious connection between these two elements, which represents one of our research questions: how do imposed discharge limits affect environmental behavior? As our general hypothesis, we test whether tighter limits prompt better environmental behavior. Based on our testing, we interpret our answer within the following light: if environmental behavior improves as limits tighten, then limits would appear effective at prompting better behavior.

As described in the preceding chapter, our analysis focuses on total suspended solids (TSS) and biological oxygen demand (BOD) discharge limits and measurements. While some of the described behavioral elements relate directly to TSS or BOD, most of these elements relate generally to a variety of wastewater pollutants, if not a variety of pollutants emitted into other media (for example, air-pollutant emissions). We claim that each and every examined behavioral element has at least the potential to improve the management of TSS and BOD discharges, while acknowledging that the potential may substantially vary across the various behavioral elements.

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