Environment roundup

  • Major new Proposition 65 regs spell plenty of new compliance and litigation issues for those doing business in California [Cal Biz Lit, first post in series]
  • For-the-kids federal climate lawsuit on “public trust” theory represents, among other things, giving up on democratic persuasion [Ian Adams, R Street, to which might be added that lawsuits pretending to represent the future interests of children in general act as power transfers to lawyers and the judiciary] A different view: David Bailey and David Bookbinder, Niskanen Center;
  • “Why Don’t We Allow Markets to Dictate Parking Policy?” [Ike Brannon, Cato]
  • “Once, protesters threatened to burn Bryson and his family in their home.” [Billings Gazette on Standing Rock standoff; Radley Balko on a prosecutor who might be blurring sympathetic coverage of protests with legal responsibility for them; Shawn McCoy/Inside Sources pushes back against popular narratives on Dakota Access Pipeline]
  • Think our law-based eminent domain system has problems? In Brazil, where poor favelas often lack formal land titling, compulsory public acquisition of land can play out as a matter of discretion [Gregory Dolin and Irina Manta, SSRN]
  • Obama administration plans for drastically more severe fuel efficiency standards are prime target for early rollback [Ronald Bailey]


  • Prop 65 regs: Another Texas full employment initiative of California Democrats.

  • Is there any research with statistically significant results showing that California’s Prop 65 has had a beneficial effect on public health? Near as I can tell, the only benefit is to those who make and sell the signs, and those who install them.

    • As a “thought experiment” it would be interesting to get statistics related to fatal workplace injury in the printing industry (where the prop 65 signs are made) and the transportation industry (to move the signs to the customers) and see if there’s a likelihood of there being at least on death caused by the increased demand for printing and transportation due to prop 65 signs.

      It’s my theory that even if there’s a 50% chance of one more workplace fatality because of the increased demand for signs and transportation, then prop 65 has caused more negative effects to Public Health than positive. I can’t imagine that anyone has positively benefited from prop 65 warnings.

  • Standing Rock pipeline protests– McCoy’s article points out that the construction has been carried out strictly according to law, including numerous attempts to consult the Standing Rock Tribe. The main point I got from his article, however, is that the tribe opposed the project from the beginning, something not clear from the eco-fundamentalist fog (and my allergic reaction to it) of MSM coverage.

    Did the pipeline company fail to offer the tribe adequate compensation? Or are relations between the tribe and the State so distrustful that agreement was not to be had on any grounds?

    It looks like the pipeline company and the Army Corps of Engineers together blundered seriously in not sticking to the original route north of Bismarck.

    • Per the article by McCoy, they Standing Rock tribe refused to even discuss the issue with either the company or Federal Government officials.

      They refused to schedule meetings, rescheduled meetings, and canceled scheduled meetings without notice. Then finally, for the one meeting that actually happened, they took the pipe line off the agenda without notifying either the Feds or the Company ahead of time then refused to have any discussion of the issue after Company reps and Federal officials showed up for the meeting.

      “Did the pipeline company fail to offer the tribe adequate compensation?”

      The tribe refused them any opportunity to even make an offer of compensation.

      “Or are relations between the tribe and the State so distrustful that agreement was not to be had on any grounds?”

      Agreement? Discussion and / or negotiation was not to be had on any grounds.

  • And the tribe is sovereign? It has sovereign control of the land in question? And they aren’t shooting anyone? Guess they’re afraid that would end up like it did in the 1800’s… Is this a legal taking? If so, under what theory of law? Might makes right? This is reservation land, correct?

    • Others can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this is *not* reservation land; the pipeline routing skirts the reservation. It has been argued that it is “historic” land (which, however, does not appear to be a relevant legal concept) and that the reservation is close enough for its water supply to suffer harm in case of a major spill (which is an issue worth taking seriously, but one that comes up in all pipeline routing and in which the reservation is in the same situation as many other owners of neighboring land).

      • I can help you, Walter. The pipeline is about a mile from the reservation. The company requested stricter permitting where the pipeline crossed the Missouri River. The builders also moved the water intake about 70 miles away from the line voluntarily.

        The new pipeline is a few hundred feet from at least one other, which is probably why the court rejected the “historic” land designation (it’s not sacred land/burial ground as has been reported by some outlets).

  • Walter–
    You are right to point out that the pipeline does *not* cross Standing Rock Reservation land. I (with I suspect many others) was misled by maps emphasizing the pipeline crossing land that *at one time* was Sioux under an 1851 treaty. The land in question is now owned by individuals, both Sioux and non-Sioux, under State law. Learning this, I became less sympathetic with the protests.

    I wonder how many of those complaining about the disruption of a suddenly revealed archeological site also complained when the Corps plowed under the Kennewick Man site?

    Relations between the State and the tribe seem to be somewhat dismal. The state college football team had to give up their Indian-theme name because they could not reach an agreement with the tribe.

  • Thanks for the clarification and correction.