Prices reflect costly polluting

Regarding the Economy page column "Public, Not Business, Pays for Cleanup," June 22: Used properly, environmental regulation merely corrects an imperfect market, requiring polluting companies to factor in the hidden, external costs of the environmental damage that their operations cause when deciding how much to produce. Of course, we expect these companies to produce fewer goods, at a higher cost.

But companies and industries whose products are produced in an environmentally sound manner (there are a large and growing number of these) do not have to pay the costs of pollution-control equipment, and neither do their customers. The overall effect is to shift production and consumption away from the dirty industries toward cleaner ones. J. Whitehead, Merritt Isle, Fla.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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