Despite significant advances, too many policy decisions are still based upon rigid adherence to fixed ideas, limited
information, political power, and irrational emotions. The human mind has a tremendous capacity to deceive itself about
what is right and what is wrong. False ideas cause people, to advocate well intended but ultimately destructive policies; to
become locked-in with total confidence to simplistic answers; and--in the worst cases--to diminish the capacity of others to
life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Although cost benefit analysis and other frameworks for rational decision-making are being applied in more and more
situations, these tools play too little a role in too many decisions--partly due to the time and funds required to implement
good studies, and partly due to the power of the countervailing forces mentioned above. In addition, when these frameworks
are applied the end-products generally omit significant factors or provide questionable estimates--rendering them to the
dustbin of history, unless they happen to support positions of powerful proponents.
Researchers have produced thousands of useful studies and dozens of computer models. Yet too often they are not utilized by
decision makers. What is needed are means to collect as much relevant information as is feasible, to analyze it rationally, to
reconcile differences, and to disseminate it cost effectively in a manner easily understood by as many people as possible.
We fulfill these ends through information systems, most notably the ACB Computerized Cost Benefit Analysis System, our
acclaimed newsletter, Environmental Valuation & Cost Benefit News, which has paid subscribers in ten nations;
and our research into applications of artificial intelligence in policy analysis. Our computerized cost benefit analysis system
brings together the results of many studies, creates common denominators, and uses "meta analysis" to reconcile differences
What are the best policies? If you listen to radical environmentalists and rigid liberals you will be steeped in fear regarding
the calamities that may arise from environmental devastation-the deadly cancers, the sizzling globe, and the vanishing
species. Business leaders, real estate developers, and rigid conservatives, on the other hand, dangle lost jobs, paralyzed
economies, and the loss of the freedom to pursue what you want when you want it before the public. People trying to be
objective may become befuddled and ultimately descend into apathy.
In general the truth lies somewhere in the middle. There is an element of reality in each position. What is needed are facts
which can help us to determine the degree of the environmental damages, if any, and tools which can translate these damages
into a common denominator so that they can be compared to other phenomena such as the benefits of removal. Information
can also help bring to light the many instances where economic and ecological goals do not collide.
As society faces increasingly complex uncertain challenges these tools will be needed more and more. Recent court decisions,
proposed and enacted legislation, and regulatory orders indicate that measures of costs, benefits, and risks are being
required in the future to justify public and private actions. Our mission is to help insure that these measures are brought to
bear upon problems quickly and effectively and to resolve conflicts to produce maximum benefits.
These methods have been applied to a host of problems including sprawl, acid rain, global warming, endangered species,
threatened watersheds, contaminated real estate, and much more. They can play a much greater role in the future.
ENVIRONMENTAL VALUATION & COST BENEFIT NEWS
EV&CBN brings you the latest information on valuation of environmental damages from the courts, from government
agencies, from the academic literature, and from unpublished studies. Recent court decisions, proposed legislation, and
regulatory orders indicate that measures of costs, benefits, and risks will be required in the future to justify public and
ENVIRONMENTAL VALUATION AND COST BENEFIT NEWS
is an indispensable source of information for estimating damages, costs, benefits, and risks, and thus for allowing readers to
maximize gains and minimize losses.
THE COST-BENEFIT GROUP (FORMERLY DAMAGE VALUATION ASSOCIATES)
The Cost Benefit Group (CBG)(formerly Damage Valuation Associates (DVA)) is a professional consulting firm which specializes in evaluating the economic and
financial impacts of environmental hazards and real estate development projects.