Environment roundup

  • The high cost of feel-good laws: why bans on disposable plastic grocery bags are bad for the environment [Greg Rosalsky, NPR “Planet Money”] Not a good move for public health either [Hans Bader on New York’s second-in-the-nation statewide ban, following California] Enjoy your tepid pad thai: Maryland lawmakers move to ban polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups and containers for ready-to-go food [Michelle Santiago Cortés, Refinery 21]
  • A future President who declared a national emergency over climate change might unlock some far-reaching powers [Jackie Flynn Mogenson, Mother Jones]
  • “Waking the Litigation Monster: The Misuse of Public Nuisance,” 48-page report on attempts to legislate by means of novel public nuisance suits [Joshua Payne and Jess Nix, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform]
  • Dim and dimmer: the Washington Post “argues that the policy of imposing energy efficiency standards on lightbulbs ‘has no downside.'” [Peter Van Doren, Cato; earlier] “Appliance Standards Are Expensive, And Regressive Too” [Susan Dudley, Forbes, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • Supreme Court “should clarify that courts should consider a property’s prospective economic value when evaluating the just compensation due from regulatory takings” [Ilya Shapiro and Nathan Harvey on Cato amicus in Love Field terminal gate case]
  • The “most expensive and least effective environmental law” of all: ideas for fixing NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970, which mandates environmental impact statements [Mark Rutzick, Federalist Society]


  • Simple solution for a seemingly complex problem. Stop putting plastic in landfills and burying it. Plastic will degrade in direct sunlight. Ask the FDA why recycled plastic is not allowed to be used in new food containers? There’s no logical reason why it shouldn’t be. I wonder if that study tracked the increase in food born illness from using contaminated cloth bags?

    The ban on plastic bags and plastic straws has nothing to do with the environment. It has to do with control. That and the envirowackos hate for the oil industry, which makes the chemicals that plastics are made from.

  • “Ask the FDA why recycled plastic is not allowed to be used in new food containers? ”

    Fear of contamination, I’d assume.

    My absolute most favorite recycling story was related to me by a wise old engineer…. It seems that a Korean paper product was produced from paper that came through a (sophisticated, modern) recycling facility that occasionally received co-mingled loads …i.e., there were other products besides paper in the received waste stream, which then had to be sorted.

    The paper product was contaminated with tiny bits of glass from broken bottles.
    The paper product?
    Toilet paper.

    • “Fear of contamination, I’d assume.”

      No. The recycling process would take care of that. The main reason is that it would cut the use of new plastic in half, killing the market.

      • What is FDA’s expressed reason, then?

      • From a quick search, it looks like about 20% of the plastic waste in the US is recycled. The majority either goes to landfills or is incinerated. Doesn’t seem likely that allowing food containers to use recycled plastics would “kill” the market.

  • … more laws are great.

    the half-million American laws already in force are not near enough to make Americans do right.

    we need full-time law makers at every level of American government… and 100 times that many in seperate regulation-making agencies.
    Pay them extremely well so they will be really productive in new rule-making.

  • From an article on Reason’s site.


    “The villain here is big oil. The fossil fuel industry did this to us,” said De Blasio at a press conference, standing at a podium adorned with a “Stop Plastic Waste, Stop Big Oil” sign. “Today, we say no to plastics. We say no to fossil fuels. We say yes to a better and fairer future.”