Free Minds & Free Markets

Oregon Oysterman's Poop Problem Shows Need for Market-Based Regulations: New at Reason

An Oregon oysterman has sued state environmental regulators over pollution he says comes from dairy farms around his Tillamook Bay oyster beds. Oyster farmer Jesse Hayes says that fecal runoff from the farm is impacting his oyster harvests, and that the state has failed to protect him, his business, and the bay.

Manure from livestock enters waterways as runoff, typically carried from farmers' fields—where it's used as fertilizer—by rain. Such problems aren't confined to Oregon. They're national and even international in scope. Similar issues exist in waters where agricultural runoff concentrates, particularly in the United States but also in Europe.

Considering the breadth and frequency of these issues, it's clear current regulations aren't working for those who earn their livelihoods farming on land and sea. They're not working for the environment nor consumers, either. Are stricter regulations the answer? Baylen Linnekin says we should think twice before demanding even more of the same.

Photo Credit: David R. Frazier / "Danita Delimont Photography"/Newscom


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