Dalhousie Law Journal


Marketable Pollution Permits, Values, Theory, Application, Economic Council of Canada, pollution control


The Economic Council of Canada recently expressed interest in exploring alternatives to the traditional command and control model of pollution control. The marketable pollution permit (MPP) scheme proposed by Dales is one such alternative.' This idea will be examined to assess its potential for practical application. I conclude that the MPP idea has little potential for widespread application. It is not suited to replace the command and control model. There is potential for the supporting principles of the scheme to provide a useful adjunct to current regulatory controls. The issue will be discussed in three sections. The first section will emphasize the value laden nature of the pollution control debate. The values incorporated in basic micro-economic analysis will be highlighted. I state my own views on what values are appropriate. Specific attention will then be given to the implicit values of an MPP scheme and cost benefit analysis. I end the discussion with the conclusion that there is good reason to be concerned about the values contained in these tools.