by Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director
A recent study, published online October 8, 2018 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, surveyed 20 government reports analyzing the economic impacts of U.S. water pollution laws. Most of these laws have been enacted since 2000, when cost-benefit analyses became a requirement. Analysis of a measure for restricting river pollution, for example, might find that it increases costs for factories using that river for wastewater disposal, but boosts tourism revenues by drawing more kayakers and swimmers.
The study suggest that many U.S. government attempts to quantify the costs and benefits of protecting the country’s bodies of water are likely undervaluing healthy lakes and rivers. . That’s because some clean water benefits get left out of the analyses, sometimes because these benefits are difficult to pin numbers on. As a result, the apparent value of many environmental regulations is probably discounted. To read the whole report, follow this link: