Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Environment roundup

  • “Ninth Circuit Dismisses Kids Climate Case for Lack of Standing” [Jonathan Adler, more; John Schwartz, New York Times; earlier here, here]
  • Administration finishes replacing much-criticized Obama rule on Waters of the United States (WOTUS) [AgInfoNet, WilmerHale, earlier]
  • Prop 65 mini-roundup: the California chemical-disclosure regime “has not been shown to provide benefits that justify its high cost.” [Michael Marlow, Cato Regulation magazine last summer] It has also created a $300 million/year industry that includes not a few shakedown artists [Cameron English, ACSH] Take two Tylenol and label them as hazardous chemicals or else [Masha Abarinova, Reason] Gas utility’s Prop 65 insert warning of exposure to, yes, natural gas [SoCalGas] From Cal Biz Lit, lists of 2019 settlements and consent judgments;
  • Forcing insurers to renew risky policies: “California Politicians Double Down on Encouraging People To Live in Wildfire-Prone Areas” [Christian Britschgi]
  • Exchange on the Price-Anderson Act and the liability regime it creates for nuclear power generation [John Cochrane; Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution] “Germany’s closing of nuclear power stations after Fukushima cost billions of dollars and killed thousands of people due to more air pollution.” [Alex Tabarrok]
  • Two Cato Daily Podcast episodes hosted by Caleb Brown: why scaling back National Environmental Policy Act review of infrastructure projects “won’t have much of an impact on environmental quality.” [Peter Van Doren] Should Presidents wield unilateral power to lock or unlock use of federal land, as is conferred on them under the 1906 Antiquities Act? [Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb Brown and Jonathan Wood]

Land use and zoning roundup

  • “NEPA Reforms a Big Step toward Correcting Worst Abuses of Environmental Permitting Process” [CEI on White House Council on Environmental Quality release of proposed revamp of National Environmental Policy Act]
  • Developer, relying on NYC’s own interpretation of zoning rules, puts up 668-foot tower. City: whoops, we’ve decided that wasn’t a good interpretation, here’s a new one. Judge: now lop off nearly half the building. What’s wrong here? [Rick Hills, City Journal] “Mom-and-pop shops ‘blindsided’ by de Blasio’s sign crackdown” [Melanie Gray, New York Post]
  • Challenge to Ohio town’s zoning ordinance limiting number of unrelated persons who can live together [Cato Daily Podcast with Maurice A. Thompson]
  • Tradeable rights for NIMBY objectors? [Peter Van Doren]
  • “Why the ‘Used Housing’ Market Should Be Like the Used Car Market” [Scott Beyer last summer]
  • “How California Environmental Law Makes It Easy For Labor Unions To Shake Down Developers” [Christian Britschgi, Reason] NIMBYs keep In-N-Out Burger out of Rancho Mirage [same]

Nuclear power: the tort system angle

Discussed by economists Tyler Cowen and John Cochrane. Cowen:

…in general American society has become far more litigious, and it is much harder to build things, and risk-aversion and infrastructure-aversion have risen dramatically. ,,,

So the odds are that without a Price-Anderson Act America’s nuclear industry would have shut down some time ago, with no real chance of a return.

Cochrane in response:

A society that allows its lawyers to nearly bankrupt Toyota and Audi over non-existent auto defects, and now is shutting down Bayer over completely unscientific claims that Roundup causes cancer, is obviously going to quickly destroy any nuclear company over harms real and imagined. If we’re going to have nuclear, we need some limitation on this kind of adventurism, along with the legal and regulatory knots that make it almost impossible to build any infrastructure in the US today.

I file this in the “lack of state capacity” department. A good (adjective) Libertarian wants clear property rights, and a sensible tort system that pays some vague attention to scientific evidence. That is part of state infrastructure. When we say “infrastructure” people envision roads, but good courts, laws, regulations, property rights, and so forth are perhaps the most essential state-provided infrastructure.

Environmental roundup

Environment roundup

Environment roundup

  • “Whaling jobs were well-paying and glamorous by Soviet standards.” The story behind “arguably one of the greatest environmental crimes of the 20th century.” [Charles Homans, Pacific Standard]
  • Laying groundwork for high-stakes lawsuits against agriculture and livestock industries over CO2 emissions [Daniel Walters, SSRN via Twitter]
  • Laws banning plastic straws sometimes forget interests of disabled [Palo Alto Daily Post]
  • Oregon ban on gold placer stream mining, California law giving state first refusal right in federal land sales are two places high court might want to clarify boundary of federal and state land authority [Jonathan Wood, Federalist Society]
  • “The Troubled History of Cancer Risk Assessment: The Linear-No-Threshold paradigm, which asserts there are no safe exposure levels, is the product of flawed and corrupted science.” [Edward J. Calabrese, Cato Regulation magazine]
  • Why the vultures of Spain tend to avoid crossing over into Portugal [Bruno Martin thread on Twitter]

Environment roundup

  • EPA confirms the view of its peer agencies around the world: glyphosate weed killer, found in Roundup, is not a carcinogen [Tom Polansek, Reuters, earlier, more]
  • Mayor Bulldozer? Critical look at Pete Buttigieg’s push to tear down hundreds of vacant dilapidated South Bend homes and fine the owners [Henry Gomez, BuzzFeed; see also Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star]
  • “Why Trump should call off the EPA’s latest assault on NYC” [Nicole Gelinas, New York Post; $3 billion to revamp and cover over a Yonkers reservoir]
  • “‘High-yield’ farming costs the environment less than previously thought – and could help spare habitats” [Cambridge University]
  • Is clarity finally coming on the scope of federal control of local surface waters? [Jonathan Adler on Trump administration “Waters of the United States” regulation; Tony Francois, Federalist Society on prospects for “navigable waters” at the Supreme Court]
  • “New Jersey Court Strikes Down Use of Eminent Domain to Take Property to “Bank” it for Possible Future Use” [Ilya Somin] Pennsylvania law promoted as fixing blighted neighborhoods used to steal people’s homes [Eric Boehm]

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]