President Trump is said to be considering an executive order suspending for a time the Dodd-Frank law’s provisions on conflict minerals, which have harmed American companies and consumers and also plunged many communities further into impoverishment in some of the poorest sections of Africa. Congress should rise to its part by repealing the provisions, I argue at Cato at Liberty. More: Hans Bader/CEI, Kevin Drum/Mother Jones, earlier, and as part of a wider look at securities regulation, Wallace DeWitt/National Affairs. More: Dominic P. Parker and Bryan Vadheim, JAERE; Tate Watkins, WSJ.
- Study: California’s high-profile CEQA environmental-review law is used heavily against public, not just private projects, particularly environmental, transit, and renewable-energy projects [Holland & Knight; more, George Skelton, L.A. Times] Estimate: needless delays in infrastructure permitting methods cost U.S. economy $3.7 trillion [Common Good]
- “‘[F]ive White Pelicans, twenty (regular old) Ducks, two Northern Shoveler Ducks, four Double Crested Cormorants, one Lesser Scaup Duck, one Black-Bellied Whistling Tree Duck, one Blue-Winged Teal Duck, and one Fulvous Whistling Tree Duck’ met their untimely end in an open oil tank owned by CITGO. Did CITGO ‘take’ these birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918? Fifth Circuit: There’s a circuit split, but we say no.” [John Ross, Institute for Justice “Short Circuit”]
- Judge: no, “waters of the United States” don’t include dry land over which water sometimes flows [Andrew Grossman, Cato]
- Just as we were getting ready with jokes about a wind shortage comes word that maybe there isn’t one [Tyler Cowen, AWEA blog]
- After the West’s outrage-binge over lion trophy hunting, African villagers feel the repercussions: “Now they are going back to hating animals.” [New York Times]
- “Solyndra: A Case Study in Green Energy, Cronyism, and the Failure of Central Planning” [David Boaz, Cato]
- Serving municipal water without charges makes for both an economic and an environmental fiasco. Who will tell that to Ireland’s #right2water marchers? [Telesur TV, Charles Fishman/National Geographic]
“In the courtroom, the quiet courtroom, the lawsuit slept for decades.” Mark Steyn on “the biggest hit ever to come out of Africa – and why its author never reaped the benefits,” with attention to the cultural appropriations of Pete Seeger et al. Earlier on unrelated litigation over one American cover of “Lion,” which figured in Ted Frank’s popular post, “The Overlawyered IMix.”
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act increased violence in the Congo by 143 percent (and looting by 291 percent) through its “conflict minerals” rule, which has backfired on its intended beneficiaries. So concludes a new study by Dominic Parker of the University of Wisconsin and Bryan Vadheim of the London School of Economics.
As we noted earlier, Dodd-Frank conflict minerals regulations have also caused starvation in the Congo, harmed U.S. businesses, and resulted in increased smuggling—even as they punish peaceful neighboring countries in Africa just for being near the Congo, whose civil wars have killed millions over the last 20 years. They have inflicted great harm on a country that was just beginning to recover from years of mass killing and had the world’s lowest per capita income. The new study is consistent with a 2013 paper by St. Thomas University law professor Marcia Narine that criticized the conflict minerals rule for its dire consequences for the Congolese people.
A Yale professor calls for using the fledgling U.N.-system court to prosecute multinational businesses and their executives (“Treat Greed in Africa as a War Crime”). Red meat for some Times readers, no doubt, but among others alarm bells might start belatedly going off. I have more details in a new post at Commentary.
The U.S. government really doesn’t believe in making it easy, which is why you might think of using a financial institution in Singapore, where they will be happy to do business. “The whole affair was just another friendly reminder of why I try to avoid doing anything in the US at all. Regulations, financial tracking, consumer protection… it’s just too damn difficult to get anything done.” [Simon Black, Sovereign Man]