Sept. 30 Webinar to Examine Economics of Controlling Algal Blooms

satellite image lake erie 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Economists will discuss the economics behind water pollution control, particularly regarding harmful algal blooms, in an hourlong webinar on Sept. 30 at noon.

“Despite years of efforts to reduce phosphorus, our traditional conservation approaches appear not to be working as well as we wish,” said Brent Sohngen, professor of environmental economics with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and one of the webinar’s presenters.

“It is really useful now for the farm community and our policymakers to at least consider taking stronger steps to limit phosphorus emissions,” Sohngen said. “Our webinar will provide an economic template for doing that.”

Sohngen leads the university’s Environmental Policy Initiative, which is sponsoring the webinar.

The webinar will address the economic dangers of harmful algal blooms, offer an evaluation of the effectiveness of traditional conservation practices in Ohio, and discuss the use of economic instruments to control algal blooms, such as taxes, water quality trading and phosphorus limits.

“The Economics of Water Pollution Control: The Case of Harmful Algal Blooms” is free and is targeted toward people who don’t necessarily have a background in economics, Sohngen said. Advance registration is not required. To join, visit shortly before the webinar is scheduled to begin.

Besides Sohngen, the webinar will feature:

  • Frank Lupi, professor of environmental and natural resource economics at Michigan State University.
  • James Shortle, distinguished professor of agricultural and environmental economics at Pennsylvania State University.

Anne Baird, a water quality program director in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, will moderate the discussion.

The Environmental Policy Initiative holds several webinars each year aimed at engaging policymakers, environmental advocates and researchers on discussion and debate around an environmental policy topic. To learn more about the work of the Environmental Policy Initiative, visit



Nicole Pierron Rasul


Brent Sohngen