Economic Research Institute Study paper
Utah State University
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In the years since the environmental movement has gained political power, United States policy with respect to the environment has developed into an all-or-nothing approach. Zero discharge limitations, although not currently in effect, are the final goals of Water Quality and Air Quality legislation. The interim limitations, Best Practical and Best Available Technology, are aimed at forcing producers into approaching the zero discharge requirement. There are two aspects of the zero approach that are troubling: first, there is a total disregard for the costs of achieving that good, just as there has been disregard of the pollution costs by producers; second, there is no recognition of the wide variances in local circumstances. There exists a large and well-developed body of economic theory with which to assess the desirability of these, and other, environmental controls. [See, for example, Seneca and Taussig, 1974; Edel, 1973; Schultze and Kneese, 1975; Enthoven and Freeman, 1973; Dorfman and Dorfman, 1972].
Keith, John E., "Development or Environment: An Economic Approach" (1977). Economic Research Institute Study Papers. Paper 361.