Professor Amy Sinden's article, The Missing Instrument: Dirty Input Limits has been selected as one of the top five articles in environmental law for 2009 by a national panel of law professors and environmental scholars. It will be reprinted in the 2009-2010 edition of The Land Use and Environment Law Review, an anthology that represents the most insightful thinking on a wide range of current and emerging land use and development issues.
The Missing Instrument: Dirty Input Limits, which Sinden co-authored with David M. Driesen, makes the case for placing regulatory limits on the inputs that constitute the root causes of pollution, in addition to (or instead of) the polluting outputs themselves. For example, in automotive regulation, output limits would place a cap on tailpipe emissions, while input limits would cap the amount of gasoline that went into the vehicle to begin with.
Input limits are often superior to output limits because of their ability to reduce pollutants at multiple points along the production stream. As Sinden explains, "by reducing the amount of gas that goes into a car, we can reduce the pollutants created by the gasoline production process itself: less gas means less air pollution from oil refineries, fewer oil spills and related issues from crude oil transport, and less ecological disturbance from oil drilling. It impacts the entire chain of events instead of just the end result."
Professor Amy Sinden teaches Property, Environmental Law, and an upper-level seminar on climate change. Her scholarly work criticizes the misuse of economic theory in environmental law, arguing against the use of cost-benefit analysis in environmental standard setting and countering claims that private property rights can solve environmental problems in the absence of government regulation. The Missing Instrument: Dirty Input Limits appeared originally in 33 Harvard Environmental Law Review 1(2009) and will be reprinted in The Land Use and Environment Law Review(Thomson West 2009 -2010).