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Best Available Technology (BAT)

Best available technology (bat) refers to a doctrine, sometimes adopted in enforcement of environmental policy, to pursue only the most stateof-the-art, technological solutions and processes, regardless of efficiency or expense. For permitting of industrial effluents under the Clean Water Act, for example, levels of allowed toxic pollutants have been set as matching those that might be reached with the “Best Available Technology.” The doctrine of BAT differs significantly from cost-benefit decisionmaking, as employed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, for example, in balancing the costs of a project against the potential gains or losses.

The difference between the two can be seen in the strength of the levee system in New Orleans, Louisiana prior to Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. When the levees broke, catastrophic ...

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