Who Benefits from Surface Water Pollution Programs?
39 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2022
Date Written: December 16, 2022
The Clean Water Act provides around 180 million dollars annually for nonpoint source pollution programs. We examine how state governments deploy these funds. We find that watersheds with wealthier and more white populations are less polluted but more likely to receive pollution project funding. Supporting analyses show that these disparities can be explained by spatial differences in local government capacity. Socioeconomically disadvantaged areas have fewer resources to compete for grants and constrained match funding for grant proposal requirements. Our findings suggest that a competitive application process is an inequitable way to determine environmental funding priorities and could amplify justice concerns.
Keywords: nonpoint source pollution, public finance, environmental justice
JEL Classification: D63, H72, Q53, Q56, R51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation