IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Cost of Developing Site-Specific Environmental Regulations: Evidence from EPA's Project XL


  • Blackman, Allen

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Mazurek, Janice


The flagship of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory reinvention initiative, Project XL has been touted as a ‘regulatory blueprint’ for a site-specific, performance-based pollution control system. But widespread complaints about the costs of the program beg the question of whether the costs of tailoring regulations to individual facilities are manageable. To address this question, this paper presents original survey data on a sample of 11 XL projects. We find that the fixed costs of putting in place XL agreements are substantial, averaging over $450,000 per firm. While stakeholder negotiations are widely cited as the principal source for these costs, we find that they actually arise mainly from interaction between participating facilities and the EPA. Moreover, EPA management problems are perceived by our survey respondents as having inflated project development costs. Finally, we find that the key factor that explains differences in costs across XL projects is the scope and complexity of the project proposal. These findings suggest that Project XL favors large firms that can afford to pay significant project development costs, that EPA management problems must be resolved to reduce costs, and that there may be a significant economic bias against complex and innovative proposals—precisely the type of proposals that Project XL was designed to foster in order to improve the efficiency of the regulatory system.

Suggested Citation

  • Blackman, Allen & Mazurek, Janice, 1999. "The Cost of Developing Site-Specific Environmental Regulations: Evidence from EPA's Project XL," Discussion Papers dp-99-35-rev, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-99-35-rev

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Moore, Michael J & Viscusi, W Kip, 1988. "The Quantity-Adjusted Value of Life," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(3), pages 369-388, July.
    2. Dallas Burtraw & Alan Krupnick & Erin Mansur & David Austin & Deirdre Farrell, 1998. "Costs And Benefits Of Reducing Air Pollutants Related To Acid Rain," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 379-400, October.
    3. Krupnick, Alan & Toman, Michael & Kopp, Raymond, 1997. "Cost-Benefit Analysis and Regulatory Reform: An Assessment of the Science and Art," Discussion Papers dp-97-19, Resources For the Future.
    4. Krupnick, Alan J & Cropper, Maureen L, 1992. "The Effect of Information on Health Risk Valuations," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 29-48, February.
    5. Loehman, E. T. & Berg, S. V. & Arroyo, A. A. & Hedinger, R. A. & Schwartz, J. M. & Shaw, M. E. & Fahien, R. W. & De, V. H. & Fishe, R. P. & Rio, D. E., 1979. "Distributional analysis of regional benefits and cost of air quality control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 222-243, September.
    6. Chaikind, Stephen & Corman, Hope, 1991. "The impact of low birthweight on special education costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 291-311, October.
    7. Jones-Lee, M W & Hammerton, M & Philips, P R, 1985. "The Value of Safety: Results of a National Sample Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 49-72, March.
    8. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1997. "Quality of life and the WTP for an increased life expectancy at an advanced age," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 219-228, August.
    9. Kip Viscusi, W. & Magat, Wesley A. & Huber, Joel, 1991. "Pricing environmental health risks: survey assessments of risk-risk and risk-dollar trade-offs for chronic bronchitis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 32-51, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Pease, James W. & Bosch, Darrell J., 2004. "Reinventing Regulation of Agriculture: Alternative Performance Standards for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 277-286, August.
    2. Blackman, Allen & Guerrero, Santiago, 2012. "What drives voluntary eco-certification in Mexico?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 256-268.
    3. Khanna, Madhu, 2001. " Non-mandatory Approaches to Environmental Protection," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 291-324, July.
    4. Javier Carrillo, 2004. "Prospective voluntary agreements to escape carbon lock-in," Working Papers Economia wp04-23, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    5. Blackman, Allen & Woodward, Richard T., 2010. "User financing in a national payments for environmental services program: Costa Rican hydropower," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1626-1638, June.
    6. Keith Brouhle & Charles Griffiths & Ann Wolverton, 2004. "The Use of Voluntary Approaches for Environmental Policymaking in the U.S," NCEE Working Paper Series 200405, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2004.
    7. Totti Könnölä & Gregory C. Unruh & Javier Carrillo- Hermosilla, 2005. "IE WP 23/04 Prospective Voluntary Agreements to Escape Carbon Lock-in," Others 0509005, EconWPA.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-99-35-rev. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.