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Volume [field_article_intvolume_value], Issue [field_article_intissue_value] — January 2006


Preventing Significant Deterioration Under the Clean Air Act: Baselines, Increments, and Ceilings--Part II

by John-Mark Stensvaag

Editors' Summary: The CAA's PSD program is extraordinarily complex. This Article, written in two parts, focuses on the root of the PSD implementation process--baselines, increments, and ceilings. After exploring the essential features of baselines, increments, and ceilings, Prof. John-Mark Stensvaag delves into to the complications that clutter up the theoretical simplicity of these features--complications flowing from statutory drafting, regulatory drafting, and interpretative choices made during the first 30 years of the program. Part I of this Article, which appeared in the December 2005 issue of News & Analysis, focused on baseline dates and baseline areas. In Part II, the author examines baseline concentrations, ceilings, and increment consumption. His analysis reveals two overarching themes about the program: (1) the PSD increment program is implemented to maximize industrial growth; and (2) implementation is tailored to avoid the establishment of baseline ambient air concentration values, to avoid the specification of ambient air quality ceilings, and to avoid the use of ambient air quality monitoring to determine compliance with the increment system.

Enforcement Data: A Tool for Environmental Management

by Robert H. Cutting, Lawrence B. Cahoon, and Ryan D. Leggette

Editors' Summary: Information is a key factor in shaping and regulating environmental behavior from various perspectives: that of a stockholder looking into the sound nature of an investment, of a consumer choosing a product, or of a government official determining compliance with law. The authors of this Article set out to identify and collate what they thought would be a significant amount of environmental compliance information available on the Internet that could serve these purposes. In so doing, however, they discovered that while the basic technical infrastructure exists within the current state and federal databases, there are few sources of enforcement information that are truly accessible and useful to the consumer, investor, and even the regulatory community. The authors thus argue for a publicly accessible assemblage of existing enforcement and compliance data from all environmental regulatory agencies. While the data presented below demonstrate what information is available to the public today, more importantly, they serve as a starting point for the eventual goal of providing the public with all enforcement data in an accessible format.

Management-Based Strategies for Improving Private-Sector Environmental Performance

by Cary Coglianese and Jennifer Nash

Editors' Summary: Improvements in environmental quality depend in large measure on changes in private-sector management. In recognition of this fact, government and industry have begun in recent years to focus directly on shaping the internal management practices of private firms. New managementbased strategies can take many forms, but unlike conventional regulatory approaches they are linked by their distinctive focus on management practices rather than on environmental technologies or emissions targets. This Article offers the first sustained treatment of both public- and private-sector initiatives focused specifically on improving firms' environmental management. Synthesizing the results of a conference of leading scholars and policymakers organized by the Regulatory Policy Program at Harvard University, Cary Coglianese and Jennifer Nash consider whether management-based strategies can lead to improved environmental outcomes and, if so, how they should be designed to be most effective. They report research findings showing that management-based strategies can yield improvements in industry's environmental performance, indicating that anyone concerned about environmental quality should seriously consider the use of these strategies. Nevertheless, the authors urge caution about overstating what can be accomplished through management-based strategies, as they will not always lead to significant change in private-sector firms' environmental performance. Although management-based strategies are unlikely to become the mainstay of society's approach to environmental protection, they nevertheless deserve greater consideration because of the positive contribution they can make in certain circumstances.

Show Me the Water! It Is Time for Congress to Acknowledge the Human Right to Water Access

by Chad West

Editor's Summary: The majority of U.S. citizens do not think twice about water usage when they take a shower, flush their toilets, or wash their cars. Yet 1.95 million people in the United States lack basic access to sufficient water and sanitation. The international community is already taking steps to ensure that water conflicts are limited and resources are protected for the future. In fact, many nations are declaring that water is a human right and that all citizens have the right to access and sanitation. State legislation and court decisions within the United States show a similar movement toward a cleaner environment and better water management. The U.S. Congress, however, has yet to take any stand. This Article argues that the time has come for Congress to advance international and state interests by acknowledging that the right to water, like the right to life or the right to be free, is fundamental to all citizens. The author argues that Congress must take immediate steps to provide sufficient clean and accessible water to Americans whose current water resources do not meet World Health Organization standards. He urges Congress to affirm the Water for the World Resolution and to sign the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, thereby allowing Congress to take the necessary first steps in acknowledging water's importance to international and domestic communities.

Conservation Planning in Orange County, California: Linking Ecosystem Protection to Open Space Preservation

by Adrianna Kripke

Editor's Summary: In an era of rapid population growth and urban expansion, efforts to protect ecosystems and the wildlife they support often generate controversy. According to Adrianna Kripke, the experience of California's Orange County with protecting the coastal sage scrub ecosystem provides a valuable lesson in conservation planning: property owners are more willing to dedicate land and funding to ecosystem protection when the land will also serve as publicly accessible open space. As long as communities provide for ecological monitoring and adaptive management of the land, integrating ecosystem protection and open space preservation increases landowner participation in conservation planning and produces a net environmental gain. Landowners support open space preservation because open space offers aesthetic and recreational resources to neighboring communities. Dedicating land as open space also reduces the supply of residential property, thereby raising the value of existing housing developments. Given these benefits, she argues, landowners should contribute significantly to ecological monitoring and adaptive management as part of their obligations to mitigate development under the federal ESA and parallel state law.