Chapter 10: Benefit–cost Analysis of Regulations Affecting Surface Water Quality in the United States
10. Beneﬁt–cost analysis of regulations affecting surface water quality in the United States C. Grifﬁths and W. Wheeler1 1. INTRODUCTION There are a number of departments within the Federal Government of the United States that deal with water quality. The Department of Interior manages the nation’s western water resources and hydrological science, primarily though the US Geological Survey (USGS), which collects, analyses, and disseminates information about the quality of the nation’s surface and groundwater resources. The Department of Agriculture helps landowners protect their natural resources through its Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which helps landowners develop and carry out voluntary eﬀorts to improve water quality and reduce upstream ﬂooding. The Department of Commerce includes as part of its mission understanding the beneﬁts of the Earth’s physical environment and oceanic resources. This eﬀort is carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for monitoring and forecasting the environmental quality of the nation’s coastal and ocean areas, assessing the damage caused by spills in these areas, and protecting the nation’s living marine resources. The Department of Transportation establishes the nation’s overall transportation policy, which includes enforcing laws relating to the protection of the marine environment, through the Coast Guard (NARA, 2002). Although these departments may have a hand in aﬀecting the nation’s water quality, it falls to an independent agency, that is, not an ‘Executive Department’, to pass the majority of the water quality regulation in the USA. The Environmental...
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