A legal and economic analysis of the Virginia Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act

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Virginia Tech


This paper focuses on the Virginia Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (the Act), the regulations promulgated thereunder and several questions arising from an examination of the Act and regulations. Specifically, the analysis examines the agricultural provisions within the regulations and asks whether the provisions are economically desirable, as well as legally enforceable.

The provisions of the Act and the regulations constitute the major focus of Chapter One. Chapter One's discussion concludes with an analysis of the regulations’ main pollution prevention tool, the vegetative buffer strip, and a brief listing of various issues and controversies involving the Act and the regulations.

Chapter Two introduces a linear programming model designed to determine the most cost-effective means of pollution control based on farmer profits under several regulatory scenarios. The results imply that the mandatory provisions of the regulation prevent farmers from achieving the desired level of pollution reduction in the least costly fashion.

The takings issue, a major concern for all environmental legislation, forms the major focus of Chapter Three. This analysis considers the provisions of the Act and regulations within the historic context of the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as the takings clause of the Virginia Constitution, and determines the legal validity of the provisions.

Finally, Chapter Four presents several criticisms of the regulations as presently constituted. Suggestions for a more cost effective regulatory scheme conclude the analysis.



law, linear programming, least-cost, takings, vegetative filter strip, regulation