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Book cover: Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management

Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1479-3598
Series editor(s): Professor Bikki Jaggi, Martin Freedman

Subject Area: Accounting and Finance

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POLLUTION DISCLOSURES BY ELECTRIC UTILITIES: AN EVALUATION AT THE START OF THE FIRST PHASE OF 1990 CLEAN AIR ACT


Document Information:
Title:POLLUTION DISCLOSURES BY ELECTRIC UTILITIES: AN EVALUATION AT THE START OF THE FIRST PHASE OF 1990 CLEAN AIR ACT
Author(s):Martin Freedman, Bikki Jaggi, A.J. Stagliano
Volume:2 ISBN: 978-0-76231-070-8 eISBN: 978-1-84950-248-1
Citation:Martin Freedman, Bikki Jaggi, A.J. Stagliano (2003), POLLUTION DISCLOSURES BY ELECTRIC UTILITIES: AN EVALUATION AT THE START OF THE FIRST PHASE OF 1990 CLEAN AIR ACT, in (ed.) 2 (Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management, Volume 2), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.59-100
DOI:10.1016/S1479-3598(03)02003-X (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Abstract:

This study examines whether the 38 electric utility firms owning the 110 plants targeted by the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) made adequate pollution disclosures to inform the stakeholders whether they met the pollution emission requirements of the Act by the start of its first phase. First, it evaluates pollution emissions of the targeted plans at the start of the first phase of the Act, i.e. 1995. Then, it evaluates whether pollution disclosures of these firms improved leading up to the first phase of the Act. This evaluation is done by comparing pollution disclosures for the start of the first phase, i.e. 1995, with the year the CAA was enacted, i.e. 1990. Pollution emission data are obtained from the Department of Energy and from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and pollution disclosure data for 1989, 1990 and 1995 are obtained from the annual reports and 10Ks. A specifically designed content analysis technique is used to categorize pollution disclosures.

The pollution emissions results indicate that 1995 emissions are significantly lower than 1990 emissions. On an individual plant basis, the results, however, indicated that some plants reduced emissions while others used the permit system. The pollution disclosures results indicate that the 1995 pollution disclosure are comparatively lower than 1990 disclosures. The reason for high disclosures for 1990 could have been to protect the firms against potential legal cases if the requirements were not met. Once the fears of legal actions subsided, pollution disclosures were probably reduced. Lack of consistency and adequacy in pollution disclosures, however, make it difficult for stakeholders to properly evaluate their future risks.


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