Environmental Ethics

Volume 15, Issue 2, Summer 1993

Paul Steidlmeier
Pages 133-150

The Morality of Pollution Permits

The Clean Air Act of 1990 sets forth a system of tradable permits in pollution allowances. In this article, I examine the moral implications of such marketable allowances as a means to achieving a clean air environment. First, I examine the “ends sought” in environmental policy by discussing foundational ethical perspectives. Second, I set forth a framework for judging the moral suitability of various means. I conclude with reflections on interest group power, public policy, and the legitimacy of “second best” solutions.

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