Regulatory Safeguards for Accountable Ecosystem Service Markets in Wetlands Development

29 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2014 Last revised: 5 Aug 2014

See all articles by Robert L. Glicksman

Robert L. Glicksman

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: July 10, 2014


The use of environmental markets creates the potential for achieving environmental protection goals more efficiently than traditional regulation is capable of doing. Past experience with emissions trading programs and other forms of environmental markets that operate in conjunction with traditional regulatory programs, however, illustrates the risks that accompany reliance on market-based strategies. In particular, participants in environmental regulatory markets have in some instances manipulated them to enhance private gain while undercutting public environmental objectives. Using the wetlands mitigation component of the federal Clean Water Act’s dredge and fill permit program as an example, this essay recommends that market-based environmental programs incorporate five different types of safeguards to promote the accountability of both market participants and the agencies supervising the operation of those programs. Reliance on financial safeguards, verifiable performance standards, transparency and public participation safeguards, oversight mechanisms such as monitoring and inspections, and rule of law safeguards can preserve opportunities for efficient achievement of environmental protection goals while reducing the risk that markets will be used to subvert those goals.

Keywords: wetlands protection, environmental regulation, market-based regulation, emissions trading, marketable permits, regulatory accountability

Suggested Citation

Glicksman, Robert L., Regulatory Safeguards for Accountable Ecosystem Service Markets in Wetlands Development (July 10, 2014). Kansas Law Review, Vol. 62, Pg. 943, 2014, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2014-41, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-41, Available at SSRN:

Robert L. Glicksman (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-4641 (Phone)


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