This article is part of the Symposium, Sustainable Agriculture: Food for the Future. Recognizing that, to date, farms had largely escaped regulation under the Clean Water Act, and that agricultural nonpoint source pollution is a leading contributor to impaired water quality, this article advocates for a regulatory response to such pollution. It considers existing programs to control nonpoint source pollution and demonstrates that they are inadequate. The article makes three recommendations: (1) an increased federal regulatory presence is needed; (2) the costs of implementing nonpoint source controls should be distributed in a pragmatic way that recognizes the extraordinary organizational presence and political clout of the agriculture industry; and (3) measures that promise water quality improvements beyond baseline regulatory requirements should be encouraged through such innovative programs as pollution trading.
Williams, Douglas R., When Voluntary, Incentive-Based Controls Fail: Structuring a Regulatory Response to Agricultural Nonpoint Source Water Pollution (2002). 9 Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 21 (2002).