Article

Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 359-380

Constitutional choice for the control of water pollution

  • Roger E. MeinersAffiliated withDepartment of Legal Studies, Clemson UniversityCenter for Policy Studies, Clemson University
  • , Bruce YandleAffiliated withDepartment of Legal Studies, Clemson UniversityCenter for Policy Studies, Clemson University

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Abstract

Before passage of the Clean Water Act, water pollution was controlled by the common law of nuisance and the law of water rights. Had the common law not been superseded, it might have provided more ecologically sound pollution control than has occurred under the command-and-control statutory regime. The Clean Water Act imposes mechanical definitions and is subject to political interference. In contrast, the principle of the common law lies in its evolutionary and competitive nature, which is consistent with the market process.