Posts Tagged ‘pollution

27
Oct
08

Lead Pollution Rules Spiked, Or Why Government Doesn’t Work

What Scares The Bush Administration Sh*tless

Scares The Bush Administration Shitless

The United States Environmental Protection agency’s proposal to tighten permissible lead pollution standards tenfold while also increasing the number of targeted lead air monitoring stations was slapped down by the Bush administration on Thursday. The executive-branch agency, created under Richard Nixon, is charged with guarding and improving the quality of the air that Americans breathe, but here we have pretty stark evidence that this isn’t its real mission.

The new rules were proposed, as they all are, by career bureaucrats within the agency, who probably saw a politically weakened Bush presidency in its final months as an opportunity to push through some in their minds overdue regulation. And it’s true that primary and secondary lead smelting has been getting away with murder, in some cases quite literally, when it comes to their trespassing on the properties of others with their pollution, including their bodies.

But look at how it works;

EPA documents show that until the afternoon of Oct. 15, a court-imposed deadline for issuing the revised standard, the EPA proposed to require a monitor for any facility that emitted half a ton of lead or more a year.

The e-mails indicate that the White House objected, and in the early evening of Oct. 15 the EPA set the level at 1 ton a year instead.

According to EPA documents, 346 sites have emissions of half a ton a year or more. Raising the threshold to a ton reduced the number of monitored sites by 211, or more than 60 percent.

In layman’s terms, under pressure from the lead industry, the Bush White House rejected the EPA suggestion for more site-specific monitoring of the amount of lead pollution spewed by lead smelters, recyclers, battery manufacturers, and steel mills.  In essence, the president rejected any reduction of lead pollution trespass at all, simply by preventing monitoring from being done where it would do the most good.

This particular strategy has a new twist, in that while the tighter pollution trespass standard would fall under the standard regulatory procedure, i.e., tighten a regulation so that small businesses are disadvantaged relative to bigger ones, the new monitoring provisions would have more closely targeted both large and small pollution trespassers, resulting in more monitoring stations being placed at their gates and fence lines, rather than in urban centers at some distance from the plants themselves.

But this shows the government’s hand – they have absolutely no interest in preventing pollution trespass at all. They simply wish to preserve their power to manipulate commercial activity for their own benefit, and that of their favored interests. And it’s a peculiarly bipartisan sort of  manipulation. How, for example, will the agency deal with the likely vast increases in lead smelting and recycling that Federal hybrid car mandates will occasion, for example?

The answer is to reconstitute pollution torts as property-rights violations. Once we stop “permitting” polluters to trespass on our bodies and properties and start prosecuting them, there will be no need for these pointless ‘gotcha’ games within the federal government.

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10
Sep
08

The Real Way To Stop Anthropogenic Global Warming

Ah, Close, But Not Exactly

Ah, Close, But Not Exactly

We have been listening for years now the the claims that science has ‘proved’ that man’s activities on the planet are causing a malignant accelerating warming of the atmosphere, which portends disaster and possibly the end of life on earth. Having some background in the sciences, we are nonetheless loath to point out that while the evidence for some warming is pretty convincing, and the fact that man contributes some measurable CO2 to the atmosphere is plausible, the mechanism is far from proved.

Moreover, the proposals (cap and trade, 2, carbon tax, technology subsidies) that have been seriously floated to try to slow or halt “Global Climate Change” (renamed that because the warming isn’t happening everywhere, and in some places cooling is being recorded) require an even heavier hand of government, have unknown efficacy, are vulnerable to cheating, and will have detrimental effects here and especially in developing countries. These proposals will disrupt the fundamental social and economic patterns of our civilization, and cost trillions of dollars, potentially for little to negative effect on the buildup of greenhouse gases.

So what do we do then? We have come up with a plan that;

1) Will measurably reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the US

2) Is guaranteed to work, if conscientiously and carefully implemented

3) While not costless, will require no forced transfer of funds from taxpayers to polluters

4) Will actually free up trillions of dollars for productive investment

5) Will massively incentivize innovators in clean energy-production technologies.

Our plan to reduce greenhouse gases, and clean up the environment?

The SSS Plan.

What does that stand for?

Stop Subsidizing Sh*t.

Stop subsidizing ethanol.

Stop subsidizing coal (by “permitting” pollution and destroying property rights in our lands and bodies).

Stop subsidizing oil (see coal above, also military intervention in the middle east, South America, and coming soon, Russia)

Stop subsidizing nuclear (state PUCs, the NRC, the DOE, and Price-Anderson have fundamentally retarded this very important energy source).

Stop subsidizing hybrid and electric vehicle development (it rewards the biggest culprits (GM, etc) while disadvantaging innovators).

Stop subsidizing highways (causing massive pollution, energy wastage, corruption, and economic malinvestment / dislocation)

Stop subsidizing airports and airlines (airports and skies jammed with planes jammed with people, absolute violations of 2nd, 4th, 7th , 9th, 10th, and 14th amendments).

And while we are at it, stop subsidizing solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, waste-to-energy, all of it.

When you get right down to it, pollution is a property-rights problem, but more importantly, it is an ECONOMIC problem, and a GOVERNMENT problem. Government disadvantages sustainable methods when it subsidizes unsustainable methods. Moreover, government investment in new technologies, meant to correct the previous mistake, serve to misdirect investment down particular avenues favored by particular interests, the very opposite of allowing the market, correctly incentivized, to determine the pace and direction of innovation.

It is said that if government could have seen the automobile coming, it would have outlawed it. It is, by its policies, outlawing sustainable energy policy economically. Before our leaders commit us to a path of dubious efficacy and certain harm, let us insist that they go through the books and strike every law, order, and policy that has the net effect of destroying property rights against polluters.

In just the coal-fired power generation sector alone, the costs of pollution, if fairly assessed, would make the industry as currently constituted extinct almost overnight. The resulting increase in the cost of electricity would both force conservation and incentivize innovation and production. all without a single cent of tax or seziure of property.

SSS.

(Image from Paul Goscicki’s blog)