The polluter pays principle and Everglades restoration

  • J. Walter MilonEmail author


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.


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



Agricultural Privilege Tax


best management practices


Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan


Central and South Florida Flood Control Project


Clean Water Act


Department of Justice


Everglades Agricultural Area


Everglades Forever Act


Everglades National Park


Environmental Protection Agency


Everglades Protection Area


flow equalization basin


National Research Council


polluter pays principle


South Florida Water Management District


stormwater treatment area


total maximum daily load


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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