The Economics of Environmental Regulation by Licensing: An Assessment of Recent Changes to the Wetland Permitting Process
Posted: 20 Dec 2002
Recent changes to the federal wetland permitting process increase the time and effort required of applicants to obtain needed permits. Using a combination of survey and government data, the cost of the reform is calculated at over $300 million annually. This cost is shown to be large relative to the number of wetland acres affected. It is also argued that these changes to the wetland permitting process are inefficient in that they fail to discriminate among wetlands of different quality. Further, it is observed that other, non-regulatory federal programs protect wetlands at a fraction of the cost of the reform package, raising questions about the consistency of the licensing program with other governmental efforts. Finally, this article addresses the issues of federalism and inter-governmental relations raised by the changes.
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