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The Clean Water Act is Reaping Benefits Nobody Has Calculated

Severe pollution that the Detroit River helped push through the Clean Water Act. Look at it now.
Photo: AP

The Clean Water Act has really helped the U.S. get it shit together. In fact, between 1

972 and 2001, the share of U.S. waters clean enough to be fished increased 12 percent. That's according to a study published in September that took the most comprehensive look yet at the outcome of this landmark rule. A partner study out Monday highlights the reality that all this regulation comes at a cost, though-a cost that may even outweigh the benefits.

However, the pair of studies from Iowa State University and the University of California, Berkeley, hints at disse cost-benefitanalyser kan være manglende nøkkelverdier for rent vannregulering. In een tijd waarin president Donald Trump is rolling back milieuregulering onder de verantwoordelijkheid van hoge kosten, perfecting dat de kosten-batenanalyse formule kan worden.

"Goede regelingen, goede beleid, zijn degenen die de voordelen boven de kosten kosten. "

Since the Clean Water Act became law in 1972, most pollutants have been regulated under it (think fecal bacteria and industrial waste) have declined. The authors analyzed data including 50 million water quality measurements around the U.S. collected from 1962 to 2001 to reach the conclusion that water pollutants have "fallen significantly." In theory, then the act is working.

But Keizer noticed while conducting that study that the costs seemed to be outweighing the benefits. Since 1960, government and industry have invested more than $ 1 trillion to address water pollution. De tweede studie, keek naar 20 eerdere evaluaties van watervervuilingsbeleid, vond deze kosten hoger dan de medische voordelen door een factor van bijna drie.

Sommige van de 20 analyses van dit onderzoek zooms in zijn financierd door de regering; Others are from researchers like Emperor. De alle helpen bij het beïnvloeden van beleid uiteindelijk. Og samlet, de finner at regulering av vannkvalitet ikke synes å være verdt det.

That's a problem.

"Good regulations, good policies, are ones in which the benefits outweigh the costs," said David Keiser, an economics professor at Iowa State who co-authored the studies, Earther. [19659004] At the same time, Keiser and his colleagues found that the way analyzes have measured benefits is often weak. Mens analyser har kollet på at forureningsbekæmpelse som et resultat av politikken, de ikke alltid veier hvordan det fordeler menneskelig helse og hva at til slutt betyr for økonomien (selv om vi allerede vet bedre folkesundhed supercharges the economy.

That's in part what Keiser and the rest of the authors are critiquing. The Clean Water Act and similar regulations like the Waters of the United States Rule are clearly necessary, but Keiser believes less money could be spent more effectively.

"There is potentially a number of categories [of benefits] not measured that need much more further examination," he went on. "Health benefits are really big."

These health benefits can jump particularly high for communities closest to any waterways, seeing positive change from the Clean Water Act, Keizer said-especially for communities of color or low -income neighborhoods plagued by pollution and poor health outcomes.

Considering those benefits may show us that environmental regulations are worth far more than anyone could realize.

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