What’s the value of a clean beach? Here’s how economists do…

first_img By Timothy Haab, Professor of Environmental Economics, The Ohio State University and first published on theconversation.com.Millions of Americans head outdoors in the summer, whether for a day at a nearby lake or a monthlong road trip. For environmental economists like me, decisions by vacationers and outdoor recreators offer clues to a challenging puzzle: estimating what environmental resources are worth.In 1981 President Ronald Reagan issued an executive order that required federal agencies to weigh the costs and benefits of proposed major new regulations, and in most cases to adopt them only if the benefits to society outweighed the costs. Reagan’s order was intended to promote environmental improvements without overburdening economic growth.Cost-benefit analysis has been so successful as a tool for policy analysis that every administration since Reagan has endorsed using it. However, it requires measuring benefits that are not “priced” in typical markets. Fortunately, putting a price on non-market environmental outcomes, such as safer drinking water and fewer deaths from exposure to dirty air, has proved to be possible, and highly valuable. These estimates help to make the case for actions such as cleaning up beaches and protecting scenic areas.Studies by the EPA have calculated that the benefits of avoided deaths and illnesses resulting from the Clean Act far outweigh the costs to society of complying with the law. EPAWhat’s it worth to you?According to a preliminary estimate from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation adds $373 billion to the U.S. economy yearly. That’s 2 percent of our annual gross domestic product – more than agriculture, mining or utilities, and approaching the economic contribution of national defense.Most policymakers and local communities measure the economic value of outdoor recreation through estimates like this, which calculate how much money it adds to local economies through direct expenditures. For example, vacationers rent hotel rooms, and their spending pays employee salaries and funds local investments through hotel taxes. Visitors to national parks pay entrance fees for park upkeep and augment local economies through employee wages and other expenditures on food and services around the park.But recreation decisions also reveal the value that people place on the environment itself. Outdoor destinations provide services, such as opportunities to swim or hike in unspoiled settings. If high levels of harmful bacteria close a beach I was planning to visit, I may choose to drive a longer distance to a beach with clean water. By quantifying such increases in time and out-of-pocket expenditures, economists can measure people’s willingness to pay for changes in environmental quality.Travelers’ willingness to spend time and money visiting remote attractions like Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming help economists estimate how the public values those places. NPS/Jacob W. FrankFunding beach cleanupsIn one recent study, I worked with other researchers to estimate increased travel and time expenditures that people incurred to avoid trash and debris on 31 Southern California beaches. No one wants to go to a beach littered with hypodermic needles, plastic bottles and discarded fishing nets. But cleaning up marine debris is expensive, and it is hard for communities to recover the costs, particularly for public beaches with open access. Understanding the value of cleaner beaches can help build support for funding trash collection.To measure the amount of debris, we hired workers to walk the beaches tallying quantities of trash. Then we surveyed Southern California residents about how often and where they went to the beach, which enabled us to correlate numbers of visitors at each beach with quantities of debris. Finally, using travel time and expenses for each visitor to visit each beach, we modeled the relationship between where they chose to go to the beach, how much they spent to get there, and the cleanliness of the beach.Using this model, we found that visitors to these beaches would be willing to incur $12.91 in additional costs per trip if each of the beaches had 25 percent less debris. This translated into a total willingness to pay $29.5 million for action to reduce marine debris by 25 percent on these beaches.Reducing harmful algal blooms in Lake ErieTrash on beaches is mainly an aesthetic nuisance, but some resource problems are more severe. For example, warm weather often triggers harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie’s western basin. These outbreaks, which are caused by agricultural and urban phosphorous pollution, contain freshwater toxins that are dangerous to humans and animals. They can trigger beach closures, and sometimes even drinking water bans.Using similar techniques to the California study, I worked with another group of economists to estimate the economic value of reducing outbreaks of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. To model the relationship between recreation and water quality, we combined satellite data on harmful algal outbreaks in the lake in the summer of 2016 with visit patterns from a survey of Lake Erie visitors. Once again, we used travel time to each visited site and out-of-pocket expenditures to get there to represent the price of a trip. Then we correlated the price of a trip with the location of the visit and the presence of harmful algal blooms.Algal toxin warning sign on an empty Maumee Bay State Park public beach on Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio, Sept. 15, 2017. AP Photo/Paul SancyaOur results showed that reducing these outbreaks through a 40 percent reduction in phosphorus runoff to the Lake Erie Basin would save swimmers, boaters and fishermen $800,000 to $970,000 per year by reducing the need for them to travel the extra distance to avoid algal blooms.Just this spring, Ohio declared the western Lake Erie watershed to be “impaired” by algal blooms, meaning it does not meet federal water quality standards. Our study provides one measurement of Ohio residents’ willingness to pay for a cleaner lake.Avoiding a major oil spillPeople can choose different destinations to avoid dirty beaches or algae outbreaks. But in the case of large-scale environmental disasters, such as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, vacationers are more likely to cancel their trips altogether.In a study using survey data on canceled vacation trips to Northwest Florida in the year following the BP oil spill, I worked with other economists to estimate the decrease in economic value to Northwest Florida coastal towns. We found that the spill caused a 9 percent drop in trips to Northwest Florida beaches, causing total economic losses of $252 million to $332 million across the Florida panhandle. Those losses represent decisions to spend vacation time and money in places where there was less risk of encountering polluted beaches.The Gulf coast stretches from western Florida to Texas and has numerous beaches and fishing towns, so this sum is probably just a small fraction of economic harm caused by the spill due to canceled travel.Jacksonville, Florida, on the Atlantic coast, benefited after the BP spill as travelers avoided the Gulf coast.The value of pricing natureContrary to some environmentalists’ fears, putting a price on natural resources has encouraged decision-makers to recognize that natural capital is finite. Before, it was easy to assume that they were free to exploit. Now economic valuation research can help decision makers answer questions such as how much damage the BP spill did to natural resources, and whether the benefits of the EPA’s Acid Rain Program exceeded the costs. Assigning dollar values to natural resources makes it possible to use the power of markets to design policies and regulations that benefit all. The Anatomy of Fear Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply Please enter your comment! Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate TAGStheconversation.com Previous articleWendell Wilkie: A statesman for the agesNext articleThe best news of the week Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Please enter your name here Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address herelast_img read more

Duterte wants admin sanctions vs ‘ninja cops, erring gov’t officials’

first_imgThe ninja cops allegation had forcedPhilippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde to resign just weeks beforehis retirement on Nov. 8. Albayalde, who was the Pampanga police chief at thetime, was alleged to have intervened on behalf of the ninja cops and preventedtheir separation from the police force./PN MANILA – Police officers accused ofrecycling illegal drugs seized in operations and erring government officialsshould be slapped with administrative sanctions, President Rodrigo Dutertesaid.    “Ang procedure ng gobyernoganito, pag may mademanda, if there’s a wrong done, usually the departmentconcerned must investigate. Itong sapolice it’s Año, administrative,” Duterte said. Duterte on Monday added that he wantedthe Department of the Interior and Local Government to sanction the “ninjacops” and erring government officials.  “So kung ano ‘yung imbestigasyon nila rebyuhin ko at kung tumama naman salahat on all fronts, to a T, then I will just adopt some but not all. Maybein form or in whatever in the definition of the crimes to make it more clear sa magbasa ng kaso,” Duterte said.    center_img He added he could not adopt the SenateBlue Ribbon Committee’s findings on the “ninja cops” because “the Senate is notunder me nor am I under the Senate.” “Itongmga police, the ninja, and everybody elsein government, you must deal first with the department where you belong and Iexpect the department to impose administrative sanctions. Then, theadministrative proceeding may mete out a punishment of separation,” he added. Duterte said he will leave it to theOffice of the Ombudsman to pursue criminal liability against the alleged roguepolice officers.  last_img read more

Carragher slams Suarez behaviour

first_img “It’s also how he’s coming across as a person to the Liverpool public and the country in general. “Of course Arsenal want to get the player, but sometimes you’ve got to remember how people are seeing the situation and how people are looking at you.” Liverpool have so far rejected two offers from Arsenal for the 26-year-old, the second a bid of £40,000,001 which they thought would trigger a sale clause. The Merseysiders have always maintained the £40million figure was only a point at which they had to open negotiations and not necessarily sell and Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor, having been called in to mediate, told the Press Association he also understood that to be the case. Carragher said the club were right to stand firm on the issue, especially if it meant keeping last season’s 30-goal leading scorer out of the clutches of one of their main rivals. “Liverpool Football Club have got to protect themselves as well,” the recently-retired centre-back told Sky Sports News. “Arsenal are a big rival for a top-four place and maybe if he wanted to go somewhere else it wouldn’t be such a big issue and maybe Liverpool would sanction a deal. “Nobody wants unhappy players at the training ground or on the pitch playing. It affects other people. “But it’s very difficult for Liverpool, like the Wayne Rooney situation with Manchester United and Chelsea. “They’re direct rivals and that’s the big deal. That’s the problem.” Suarez still hopes to come to a “friendly” resolution despite Rodgers saying the 26-year-old has showed “total disrespect” to the club. “My aim is to reach an agreement with the club in a friendly manner and I hope the clause we agreed a year ago is fulfilled. Up to now, it hasn’t been,” Suarez, who was left at home for last night’s friendly against Valerenga in Norway because of injury and is unlikely to feature against Celtic in Dublin on Saturday, told Spanish newspaper Marca. “It’s not that I want to or am desperate to leave, but I like things to be clear and a year ago I made my position to the club clear.” Captain Steven Gerrard has spoken to Suarez about wanting him to stay at Anfield but the striker said the words of the long-time Liverpool man were outweighed by the lure of the Champions League. “Gerrard has a lot of history with Liverpool and his words are very important but everyone should understand that I need to play the Champions League to keep growing as a footballer,” he added. “Now I have the chance, I want to take it. A Champions League team (Arsenal) is making a big effort to get me and one always wants to be where they feel comfortable. “We (Suarez and his agents) had an offer from a Champions League team, we considered the situation and decided that, as a new coach (Rodgers) was coming, and the club was making a big effort to get into Europe, we should renew my contract with a new clause: if we didn’t get into the Champions League I could leave if there was an offer of over £40 million.” Manager Brendan Rodgers is making the player train on his own after the Uruguay international accused him of reneging on a deal he claims was struck last summer which would to allow him to leave should the club not qualify for the Champions League and receive a suitable offer. The Reds boss has taken the unusual step of taking a hard line with his star player, with the full backing of owner John Henry who has arrived on Merseyside after watching Wednesday’s friendly in Norway. Press Association Henry has previously kept his distance to the issue, having been in communication with Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre from America, but now has the chance to see for himself just how toxic the situation has become. Carragher believes it is time his former team-mate started to realise how badly his behaviour in angling for a transfer reflects on him and the club. “Sort yourself. You can’t have that and can’t accept that,” he offered as words of advice to the troublesome South American. “There’s ways and means of going about it. Players get transferred all the time and you can’t always have what you want. “He can’t carry on the way he’s been carrying on. Brendan Rodgers has come out and said that nobody is bigger than the club and that’s exactly right. “If Suarez is a distraction for everyone then he needs to be taken out of the group. “There will be agents and probably people at Arsenal talking to him but he’s a grown man. “He’s not a kid, he’s got a family and he needs to make his own decisions and what’s right for him. Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has told wantaway striker Luis Suarez to sort himself out as relations between the player and the club deteriorate.last_img read more