Category: Environment

“Green” Energy: The Color of Money

In light of the recent legal filing for creditor protection by Spain-based, Abengoa, Inc., the viability of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is getting appropriate scrutiny and reconsideration. Through that program, the giant green-energy company received billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in grants, loans, and subsidies. Still, last week they were forced to close their […]

New EPA Employee Bonuses Spark OIG Investigation

Back in the day, if you needed to relocate for a new job, you could elicit the aid of a few strapping young men for little more than the cost of a pizza and a six-pack of beer. Add the cost of a rental truck, and you could probably recoup your expenses after the first paycheck. Today, the same […]

Congressional Request leads to Scathing Review of the EPA

Businesses, landowners and farmers know the feeling of dread that comes with hearing the words “not in compliance” from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has earned the reputation of delivering heavy-handed enforcement actions and exorbitant punitive penalties. The agency’s authoritarian over-reach is near legendary, earning them the moniker “rogue agency”. Even the […]

Economic Gain Increases Environmental Quality

The relationship between environmental quality and economic development has been described as an environmental Kuznets curve: Initially, economic development exacerbates environmental problems; however, as an economy grows and develops, average incomes reach a certain point beyond which environmental indicators start to improve.  Indeed, as gross domestic product per capita increases, emissions of pollutants per $1 […]

The Golden-cheeked Warbler and Piecemeal Environmental Policy

A tiny, migratory songbird is causing a big ruckus in Texas. At issue is the Golden-cheeked warbler’s status according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The bird caused a related stir in 1990 when it was the subject of a petition by members of the anarchist environmental group, Earth First! The petition moved […]

EPA and Regulatory Taking of Private Property

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids the government from taking privately owned property without the due process of law, and without just compensation. However, what constitutes a government “taking” and can “due process” be preemptively satisfied by agency regulation? It seems in the case of “wetlands”, the EPA has overreached its authority. Let […]

Gold King Mine an EPA Superfund Site

On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an Emergency Response Statement to a massive pollutant spill in Colorado. According to the agency, EPA contractors caused the accidental breach. As a result, contaminated water flushed from the long abandoned Gold King Mine into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River. The […]

Private-Public Partnerships Move to Improve Texas Energy and Environment

Apart from obvious biological costs of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, there were heavy indirect costs associated with the spill which most economists will likely never be able to calculate accurately. These intangible costs include the heavy blow dealt on the Gulf’s tourism sector that year. The mere cleanup costs of similar spills […]

The Clean Coal Technology Myth

The potential rise of clean coal technology has been hampered by its costly nature. Originally intended to prevent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, there have been few real applications of this technology. The most promising clean coal development was the potential to make hydrogen from water by using coal and then burying the carbon […]

Environmentalists for School Choice

Last year I met Dr. Bart Danielsen, the Founder of Environmentalists for Education Reform. What a brilliant concept! As a long-time environmental economist, and urban economist, I should have recognized the vital importance of the connection between at least the “school choice” part of the urgently needed transformational education reform and environmental impact, not to […]