Air and water pollution laws in America both allow a certain amount of pollutants to be released based on the idea that for most pollutants they are only a problem at certain concentrations. The Clean Water Act allows a Total Maximum Daily Load and the Clean Air Act allows certain levels of air pollution.
Both air and water laws have been done under a regime called “Command and Control.” They command polluters to pollute only a certain amount, using certain technologies and then control this whole process. It is the opposite of a market regulation; such as cap-and-trade which controls the amount of overall pollution but allows companies to reduce however they like either by purchasing a right to pollute or by reducing pollution themelves.
Land pollution is not allowed, we concentrate land pollution into landfills.
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