The price of pollution

Several of your columnists have objected to environmental regulations for the costs they impose on business. Most recently, the author of the Economy page column "Costly Regulations Hinder US Economic Growth," June 2, quotes an expert who says that these huge "mandated expenditures" are "a thinly disguised implicit corporate income tax" that has reduced profitability.

This implies, however, that pollution is free - that if those companies didn't have to clean up their act, no one would be worse off. That is simply not the case. If a business can get away with polluting the environment, it is simply avoiding some of its costs of production and imposing them on innocent third parties. John R. E. Beliese, Estes Park, Colo.

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