Title

The Clean Water Act and California's Coast: An Economic Analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

The ocean, which covers more than three quarters of the Earth?s surface, is not only one of the largest natural resources but also one of the most delicate. Unfortunately, the ocean continues to show signs of degradation and disrepair. This deterioration of marine ecosystems threatens to compromise human health, damage the economy, and irrevocably harm marine life. The emergence of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Coastal Zone Reauthorization Amendments of 1990 set forth ambitious legislation to counteract this trend. This paper examines the effectiveness of the Coastal Zone Reauthorization Amendments in improving beach water quality in ten of California?s sixteen coastal zones. Using approximately 250,000 unique observations, each consisting of seventeen variables, I found that the Coastal Zone Reauthorization Amendments have had a significant impact on California?s coastal waters. Furthermore, I found that increased rain and population play an instrumental role in causing spikes in oceanic bacteria quantities. In brief, this study joins a limited amount of scholarly work exploring the impacts of the Clean Water Act and its Amendments.

Advisor

Bevin Ashenmiller

Department

econ

Support

Support provided by:Ford Research Endowment

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