Runoff and Reality: Externalities, Economics and Traceability Issues in Urban Runoff Regulation

Donald J. Kochan

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Chapman Law Review, Vol. 9, 2006
Chapman University Law Research Paper No. 08-09

It has long eluded regulators and private enforcers how to control the imposition of negative externalities. This paper will examine: (1) Whether existing authorities (like the Clean Water Act) are capable of providing regulation of urban runoff; (2) Whether, in light of economic controls, regulation of these activities are necessary; (3) A summary of recent runoff litigation; and (4) What is next; what should be next? Although each of these questions form background, the primary emphasis currently anticipated for this presentation is on traceability, collective action, and free rider problems that motivate regulation in this area.

Often runoff is described as non-point source pollution. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), States report that nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems. As a result, determining the origin of certain pollutants becomes very difficult - if you cannot trace them to a certain dumping pipe because the substances simply runoff from a non-point source it becomes far more difficult to identify the originating location of contaminants. This Article will explore these difficulties.

In addition to and in conjunction with federal regulation, most states have implemented plans to control for the contribution of runoff and non-point source pollution to water quality, but it is a still developing area of environmental law. The complexity of this process of regulation, however, is high.

This Article remains largely agnostic and focuses on the complexities and difficulties that must be taken into consideration as regulations develop and are applied in this area. It attempts to identify the metrics, economics, and realities that must underlie the regulation of runoff.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: Environmental Law, Natural Resources, Water, Runoff, Regulation, Administrative Law, Externalities, Economics, Traceability, Law and Economics

JEL Classification: B00, B40, H00, H10, H11, H19, K00, K11, K20

Accepted Paper Series

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Date posted: June 12, 2006 ; Last revised: April 4, 2013

Suggested Citation

Kochan, Donald J., Runoff and Reality: Externalities, Economics and Traceability Issues in Urban Runoff Regulation. Chapman Law Review, Vol. 9, 2006; Chapman University Law Research Paper No. 08-09. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=907688

Contact Information

Donald J. Kochan (Contact Author)
Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
714-628-2618 (Phone)
714-628-2576 (Fax)

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