The Clean Water Authority Restoration Act ( House Bill H.R.2421 S.1870) attempts to remove the requirement that bodies of water be ‘navigable’ to be federally regulated. Unfortunately, many don’t think critically about environmental problems. As economist F.A. Hayek has pointed out to us, the requisite knowledge for solving many of our problems seldom presents itself in complete integrated form. Instead, it is dispersed among multitudes of individuals and circumstances.
Technology has allowed for many environmental problems in Agriculture to be internalized. The use of global positioning systems and biotechnology are examples of how markets have utilized the dispersed knowledge of individuals acting in their own interest to help mitigate environmental problems.
Family farms make up 98% of all farms, and small farms account for 70% of farm real estate. These operations will be affected most by this legislation. They currently manage the resources that would fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act should the CWARA pass. These producers have specialized knowledge with regards to producing food in an environmentally sustainable manner. If the CWARA is passed, it could substitute the limited knowledge of a few experts for the well-coordinated knowledge and experience of multitudes of farmers. Is there any reason for us to believe that this would necessarily be better for the environment?