-- via my feedly newsfeed
Over the period 1970 to 2014, we calculate total spending of $2.83 trillion to clean up surface water pollution, $1.99 trillion to provide clean drinking water, and $2.11 trillion to clean up air pollution (all converted to 2017 dollars). Total spending to clean up water pollution exceeded total spending to clean up air pollution by 70 to 130 percent. ... Since 1970, the United States has spent approximately $4.8 trillion (in 2017 dollars) to clean up surface water pollution and provide clean drinking water, or over $400 annually for every American. In the average year, this accounts for 0.8 percent of GDP, making clean water arguably the most expensive environmental investment in US history. For comparison, the average American spends $60 annually on bottled water ...The quality of water has improved. For example, the share of wastewater and industrial discharge being treated has risen.One common measure is whether the water is "fishable," and the share of water "not fishable" has been declining.
Another challenge involves the language of the Clean Water Act protecting "Waters of the United States," which has led to legal debates over how this term applies to roughly half of US waters, primarily composed of wetlands, headwaters, and intermittent streams. Two Supreme Court decisions held that the Clean Water Act does not protect most of these waters (Rapanos v. United States, 547 US 715 ; Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. US Army Corps of Engineers, 531 US 159 ). In 2015, the Obama administration issued the Waters of the United States Rule, which sought to reinstate these protections. However, in 2017, President Trump issued an executive order to rescind or revise this rule. The net benefits of these regulations have also become controversial ...Keiser and Shapiro also point out that there is a LOT more economics research about air quality than water quality, perhaps in part because the Environmental Protection Agency collects and makes available copious data on air pollution, while data on water pollution is collected more sporadically and divided up in many places. They point out a number of ways in which data related to water pollution is becoming more complete and available. But matching up the very local steps to reduce water pollution with the very local effects of water pollution, and then tracing water pollution through the natural hydrogeography, remains in many ways a work in progress.