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The polluter pays principle and Everglades restoration

  • J. Walter MilonEmail author
Article

Abstract

Florida’s Agricultural Privilege Tax (APT) is a unique example of the “polluter pays principle” applied to reduce nonpoint source pollution. It has been more than 20 years since the APT was enacted as a building block for restoration of the Everglades ecosystem, the most extensive environmental restoration project in the world. This article provides a historical perspective on the environmental, socio-political, and institutional factors that led to the enactment and evolution of the APT. The efficiency and equity of the tax as part of a broader program to achieve water quality goals for the Everglades are also evaluated. A key result of this evaluation is that the APT has encouraged reductions in nutrient loads from agricultural areas, but these contributions have been limited. Dramatic increases in abatement costs to treat nonpoint outflows with stormwater treatment areas have occurred, and the timeline to achieve water quality objectives has been pushed forward by decades beyond the original goal. Contrary to the polluter pays principle, political compromises that have shaped the APT since its inception have shifted an increasing share of the burden to the public to reduce the flow of nutrients into the Everglades. An inconsistent regulatory approach to reduce nonpoint sources throughout the Everglades watershed may be the most important impediment to Everglades restoration.

Keywords

Polluter pays principle Nonpoint source pollution Agricultural Privilege Tax Everglades Water quality Stormwater treatment areas Ecosystem restoration Comprehensive Everglades restoration plan 

Abbreviations

APT

Agricultural Privilege Tax

BMP

best management practices

CERP

Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan

C&SFP

Central and South Florida Flood Control Project

CWA

Clean Water Act

DOJ

Department of Justice

EAA

Everglades Agricultural Area

EFA

Everglades Forever Act

ENP

Everglades National Park

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency

EvPA

Everglades Protection Area

FEB

flow equalization basin

NRC

National Research Council

PPP

polluter pays principle

SFWMD

South Florida Water Management District

STA

stormwater treatment area

TMDL

total maximum daily load

TP

total phosphorus

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Copyright information

© AESS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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