Policy Documents

Simplify, Simplify: Alternative Permitting at the State Level

Christopher A. Hartwell –
February 1, 1999

Traditional environmental regulations have two central features. First, they require regulated industries to comply with one-size-fits-all prescriptions aimed at reducing pollution. Second, they require that industries obtain permits demonstrating compliance at each emission source. But permits are no guarantee of actual environmental improvement.  

The author states that in order to ensure greater innovation, states should:

  1. insure stakeholder involvement
  2. balance goals
  3. reorganize environmental departments, and
  4. Involve the EPA.

In addition, there should be a grace period allowed so companies who want to improve, are able to do so without penalty, and while taking into account the political mood of the state, business often do not know about compliance requirements.  Therefore, greater communication to business is needed.