Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Controlling Pollution by Individuals and Other Dispersed Sources

November 2005

Citation: 35 ELR 10745

Issue: 11

Author: Daniel A. Farber

Editor's Summary: Because many of the factors that make it difficult to control pollution by individuals also apply to small businesses and farms, Prof. Daniel Farber argues that individuals and owner-operated businesses should be considered as part of the same universe of dispersed sources. Effectively dealing with such dispersed sources will involve many techniques, some of which avoid the need to rely on motivational mechanisms. Nevertheless, the motivations of such "mini-polluters" must be explored, and lessons from the corporate world are quite instructive in this regard. Pressure from outsiders seems to play an important role in motivating environmentally friendly corporate behavior. Thus, Professor Farber recommends putting similar pressure on mini-polluters by increasing the availability of critical information to surrounding communities. Alternatively, the problem of controlling mini-polluters could be "outsourced" to large firms experienced with influencing consumer behavior.

Daniel Farber is Sho Sato Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program, University of California at Berkeley. He is the coauthor of a leading casebook on environmental law, Environmental Law: Cases and Materials (6th ed. 2003) (with Roger Findley and Jody Freeman), and the author of Eco-Pragmatism: Making Sensible Environmental Decisions in an Uncertain World (2003). Prof. Ann Carlson and Steve Sugarman provided helpful comments on an earlier draft, as did participants at "The Next Environmental Frontier: Individual and Household Behavior," a symposium held on April 22, 2005, in Nashville, Tennessee, cosponsored by the Environmental Law Institute, the Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies, the Vanderbilt Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, the Vanderbilt University Law School, and the Owen Graduate School of Management.

Download Article >>>