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Volume [field_article_intvolume_value], Issue [field_article_intissue_value] — April 1998


The New Air Quality Standards, Regional Haze, and Interstate Air Pollution Transport

by Vickie L. Patton

Editors' Summary: Combatting interstate air pollution is one of the major challenges in the effort to improve air quality. For decades, federal legislation has addressed this problem, but with little success. Now, with EPA's adoption last year of new ozone and fine particulate matter standards, this issue is receiving even more attention.

This Article, written by an attorney with EPA's Office of General Counsel, examines the history of federal legislation and policies that address interstate air pollution. The Article begins with an analysis of the first national air pollution legislation, which was enacted in 1955. It then discusses federal air statutes down to, and including, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Finally, it examines relevant programs under the 1990 amendments, as well as their influence on new presidential policies. In an upcoming Article, the author will examine two key topics related to transboundary air pollution — environmental federalism and presidential interstate air pollution control policies.

State Enforcement Authorities for Polluted Runoff

by James M. McElfish Jr.

Editors' Summary: Because the FWPCA's enforcement provisions focus on discharges from point sources, nonpoint source water pollution remains a significant problem. State and federal efforts to address nonpoint source pollution primarily include nonregulatory programs of planning, financial incentives, technical assistance, and voluntary measures. Yet, an array of enforceable mechanisms to control polluted runoff has emerged. Some have been on the books for years, while others have appeared more recently in response to particular problems. This Article recognizes that enforcement mechanisms vary significantly not only state by state, but also watershed by watershed, and activity by activity, and it identifies the wide array of enforceable state laws that are applicable to the control of nonpoint sources of water pollution.

This Article summarizes general discharge prohibitions and notes explicit limitations. It also looks at provisions found in states' fish and game laws, nuisance laws, sedimentation and erosion laws, forestry practices laws, and agricultural laws that can be applied to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. In addition, this Article examines the integration of best management practices into enforceable authorities as well as some geographically targeted enforcement authorities. This Article's comparison of different state approaches used to control nonpoint source pollution could assist state and federal decisionmakers in developing additional enforceable laws where water quality improvement is needed and voluntary programs are no longer sufficient.


Barriers to Environmental Technology Innovation and Use

by Byron Swift

Editors' Summary: Through an analysis of six case studies of specific industries, this Dialogue identifies barriers to the development of new environmental technologies. After providing background information on the environmental technology industry, the author discusses barriers to technology innovation that are specific to the environmental regulatory system. He then identifies the barriers to innovation that arise from economic and business conditions, including industry conservatism and risk aversion, inadequate funding, and a lack of research and development. In a final section, the author offers possible solutions to the problem, including moving from end-of-pipe rate standards in our laws toward overall performance standards like emissions caps, eliminating provisions in RCRA and state utility codes that restrict technological innovation, and developing policy solutions to the economic barriers involved. These approaches, together with cost and demand drivers, can transform our adequate environmental compliance system into an excellent one.