Role of Government Intervention in Environmental Issues Essay

In environmental cases, a policy framework is sometimes more effective when there is less government intervention. As the level of government intervention diminishes, this allows more flexibility for corporations to achieve efficiency. Furthermore the traditional command and control approach has proven to be costly, bureaucratic and often inefficient. It is important to address the fact that there are numerous benefits that can be achieved for both policy makers and industries, if a policy framework is based on market forces. However it is important that there is a need for some government intervention, but should be as minimal as possible.

I have chosen to examine the article from the New York Times entitled RU.S. Seeking Options of Pollution RulesS. Although pollution is detrimental to our environment, you have to take into account that it is almost impossible to entirely prevent pollution. This is scientifically impossible and it would have severely negative economic impact on the industries. So the core issue becomes the fact no matter what, there will always be pollution, as long as these industries exist.

So we should focus on how we can minimize this and yet at the same time have an efficient market system? Furthermore, we should also focus on how we can accomplish this so that sustainable growth and development can take place. So there is definitely a need for some form of government intervention to enforce and monitor this. Reason being that there is always an element of equality that has to be enforced, when dealing with cases such as this. For instance, larger corporations may have an advantage over smaller corporation, since they have stronger influence on politicians and lobbyists. So the governmentUs role should be to ensure that all industries (regardless size and/or power) have equal opportunities to benefit from this type of approach. In another words, the government should simply be a RwatchdogS. Government should monitor so that the distribution and transaction of the permits are done in an appropriate manner. The case of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Corporation is a classic example of tradable permit approach.

Under this model corporations are able to buy, sell and trade permits that legally allows emission. Many economists have favored this approach because this also provides incentives for technical improvement. So the aggregate effect would be that most industries would try to maximize their profits by trying to come up with new techniques to reduce the level of emission. This in turn would allow them to reduce the cost that they would have to pay from polluting. Norm Miller also endorses this approach by stating that Rperformance-based approaches are more efficient, both for industry and for governmentS. Allowing a company to devise and manage their own pollution control plan is another effective (and Rde-regulativeS) approach. In the article, this was exemplified in an Arizona based company called Intel. Individual companies such as Intel knows what is best for the company. This means that each individual companies know what the best equipment is and what the best procedures are to achieve established standards. Rather than having the government telling them what to do, the people at Intel were able to devise their own plan. This saved them a great amount of time with out the usual cumbersome, bureaucratic procedures.

The Intel company, in this case, bought the effluent from the cityUs waste water treatment plan. This allows corporations to work more closely with the local communities. Usually, the result is that both parties would benefit and even achieve a common goal. There are, however, potential problems that may occur from this. Although we can presume that market forces will allow everything to work itself out, it may still promote degradation. Reason being that, under this model there is still a notion of Ryou can pollute as long as you can pay for itS. So if a great number of corporations are financially able to pay for their level of emission, the aggregate effect on our environment would be devastating. Under this model, it is also difficult to penalize the polluters. Where as under the command and control approach, severe fine or even imprisonment can be imposed to prevent pollution. There is also a possibility that this may lead to individualistic attitude. In a competitive market, everybody (or every corporation) tries to maximize their gain by acting in an individualistic manner. Individualistic type of behavior has been known to lead to greater level of environmental degradation.