The Public Interest

Cleaning the Air

Bruce Kovner

Winter 1978

THE idea that environmental policies ought to reflect economic and political interests is not an especially popular one. Many environmentalists regard pollution as a moral problem that can be solved if only the public interest in a clean and healthful environment is given precedence over private economic interests. On the other side, many industry spokesmen (among others) regard pollution as a technical problem that can be solved if only science and industry are given time to deal with it. Both parties to the dispute assume that environmental problems can be overcome without having to balance the claims of conflicting interests or to choose among competing goals of public policy.

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