Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Polluter Pays

Rotorua farmers are objecting to having to pay extra in rates to cover the cost of cleaning up the region's lakes. But there's a simple principle at stake here: polluter pays. The farmers made the mess, though overstocking of cattle, excess use of fertilisers, and not caring where the runoff went ("dirty dairying" in other words). Therefore they should be the ones paying to clean it up. Giving them yet another free ride will simply encourage them to continue to engage in unsustainable, polluting practices which externalise their environmental costs onto everybody else.


Don't you know, its one law for all except farmers?

Posted by Sanctuary : 5/31/2006 12:07:00 PM

The farmers are also suggesting a great deal of the spending they're going to be taxed for is ludicrous, as it seems to be.

More importantly, the regulations of the past forced farmers to be cheap and dirty with their practices to maintain profitability. Plus, their cheaper production over that time didn't profit them alone.

Now though, I agree with poluter pays, anyone continuing to pollute now that clean farming is the base for everyone's costs should simply have their land confiscated.

Posted by tussock : 5/31/2006 05:25:00 PM

While I'm all for sticking it to farmers when it comes to the mess they make, that article talks a bit of crap:"remove the nutrients from the lakes"? Almost impossible, you just stop more coming in and wait a long time while the rest trickle out or get (mostly) locked up in sediments.

Making them plant trees along the edges of waterways and keep their cattle out of streams would be more to the point.

Posted by Chris : 5/31/2006 07:33:00 PM

Tussock: who needs anything so messy and unseemly as confiscation when we can get the market to do the dirty work? Apply proper environmental taxes, so that they are paying the full cost of their activities and compensating the rest of society for the damage they are causing. Those that can farm clean, will. Those that can't will go bankrupt.

Chris: As I understand it, limiting inflows is the council's plan; they want to divert polluted water flows, and have imposed strict RMA conditions limiting stock numbers and fertiliser use (which made the farmers kick and scream about their "right" to "do whatever they want on their own land" (meaning: dump their shit in public waterways)).

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/31/2006 10:47:00 PM