In this article we are told the following:
Those who create costs pay for them — that simple idea is the logic behind the Clean Air Act and most other environmental regulations
If that is the simple logic behind the Clean Air Act, then the act should be torn up and tossed into the garbage. If such a comment was put onto my environmental economics exams, it would receive a failing grade. The simple logic behind good economics AND good environmental policy is not to ask those who create costs to pay for them – that is something that we may want to do after the fact. But what good economics and environmental policy requires is this: those who can mitigate problems for the lowest cost should do the mitigating.
An enormous body of evidence supports this, and indeed it does not necessarily coincide with it being the “damager” that is the low cost mitigator. Does it mean the “damager” should not contribute financially? Not at all. There’s much more to say about that piece, but one must turn one’s attention to other things for the time being.