Category: Environment

  Benita Dodd,Vice President, Georgia PublicPolicy Foundation By Benita M. Dodd This Foundation’s weekly commentaries usually focus on Georgia-specific issues, but May has been a month for wake-up calls from Washington to all liberty-minded Americans. Government employees testified they were punished for speaking out about the U.S. Embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya. The Internal Revenue Service admitted unfairly targeting conservative groups. The FBI is investigating the Justice Department’s unorthodox seizure of Associated Press phone records. Latest out of the gate, and perhaps the least surprising of all, is that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been giving preferential treatment to liberal and green organizations. Research by the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reveals the EPA happily waived fees… View Article
Benita DoddVice PresidentGeorgia Public Policy Foundation By Benita M. Dodd “Climate change has many faces,” notes the Web site for Earth Day 2013, which takes place Monday, April 22. “A man in the Maldives worried about relocating his family as sea levels rise, a farmer in Kansas struggling to make ends meet as prolonged drought ravages the crops … the polar bear in the melting arctic, the tiger in India’s threatened mangrove forests. …” It’s a lengthy list. Unfortunately, it’s incomplete. It’s time to add a few more faces to the pitiful environment painted by Earth Day organizers. An entrepreneur and small business shouldering the regulatory burden. The Small Business Administration reports that compliance with environmental regulations costs small… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Not many people announce they’re going on a diet; it may fail and they’re left embarrassed. Around the country and in Georgia, planners are quietly going on “road diets” and hoping you’ll be so busy admiring the pretty streetscapes that you won’t notice the gradual shrinking of space for vehicular traffic until it’s too late. This social engineering move is euphemistically called “rightsizing streets.” It has little to do with transportation, and includes strategies such as “converting vehicle lanes to other uses, narrowing vehicle lanes, adding bike lanes, improving pedestrian infrastructure, changing parking configuration and adding roundabouts and medians,” according to the Project for Public Spaces, which earlier this year released a report called… View Article

Imposing Renewable Energy Won’t Work

(This commentary appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s ‘Atlanta Forward’ of March 7, 2013) Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Benita M. Dodd If at first you don’t succeed try, try again, goes the saying. Watching environmental groups eroding sound energy policy through death by a thousand cuts is a strong reminder. For years, alternative energy was promoted as preparation for “peak” oil. Domestic energy exploration was hindered to “protect the land.” Air and water pollution were cited to demonize coal. Then global warming/climate change was the reason to reduce coal and petroleum use. Policy-makers concerned about national security were urged to achieve energy independence, with no regard for how global markets operate. In this, biofuel profiteers have been… View Article
Atlanta – Did you know that Georgia had the nation’s fourth-highest foreclosure rate in 2012? There were 105,610 foreclosure filings last year, or one for every 39 homes. Who’s to blame? Greedy bankers? Corrupt politicians? Ignorant homeowners? Find out from Randal O’Toole, author of, “American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership,” at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 8.a.m. on Tuesday, February 19 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club.   The event, titled “American Dream, American Nightmare” is a not-to-be-missed explanation of the forces at play in the housing market in Georgia and in the nation, and how to rebuild the American Dream of homeownership. This event will cost $25 to attend. Register online by Friday,… View Article

State Property Leases Could Get a New Lease on Life

By Benita M. Dodd There are two constitutional amendments on the ballot in Georgia for voters to consider on November 6. To borrow a word revived in the American lexicon by Vice President Joe Biden, there has been much malarkey in the debate regarding Amendment No. 1, which would provide more public charter school options. Few voters, however, are even aware of Amendment No. 2, which would allow the state to enter multi-year property lease agreements. Georgia’s State Properties Commission, responsible for the inventory of all owned or leased state government facilities and property, has a database of 1,800 leases, 15,000 buildings and 1.1 million acres. The Commission says a longstanding interpretation of the Georgia Constitution limits the state to… View Article

Banking on Land Banks is Banking on Trouble

By Benita M. Dodd The new Georgia Land Bank Act expands local governments’ abilities to create a land bank, an organization with sweeping authority to acquire and dispose of vacant, abandoned or delinquent properties. But communities that race to embrace this unfortunate move will see it come back to haunt, not help, them. It sounds like a good idea at first: Get rid of the vacant properties and abandoned homes that attract crime and impact surrounding property values. The housing crisis has hit Georgia extraordinarily hard and many property owners find themselves unemployed and unable to meet tax and mortgage obligations. Citing “an overriding public need to confront the problems,” the law empowers local governments to join forces or act… View Article

Biofuels, Ethanol Give Food for Thought

By Harold Brown A lawsuit filed this week against the federal Environmental Protection Agency accuses the agency of penalizing refiners for failing to meet “unattainable and absurd” cellulosic biofuels quotas outlined in EPA’s renewable fuels standard. The EPA mandates the purchase of biofuels formulated in part from biological materials including switchgrass, wood chips and agricultural waste. But the oil and gas industry trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, argues that the quotas set an unrealistic goal because no such cellulosic biofuels are produced on a commercial scale in the nation. Refiners unable to meet the cellulosic biofuels mandate represent just the tip of the iceberg. Biofuels, mainly ethanol, are booming in the 21st century. They crept over from the 20th… View Article

Don’t Hide Energy Innovation Under a Bushel

By Benita Dodd Benita Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation It’s easy being green these days for environmental activists – green with envy. The darnedest thing has happened in the energy arena, something that this Foundation frequently cites in opposing heavyhanded government mandates and regulation. It’s the innovativeness of Americans. Not that it’s slowing activists’ efforts to rein in innovation. A long time ago, Americans faced predictions that oil was running low. “Peak oil” hasn’t happened, thanks to innovation. Vehicles became more fuel-efficient, going farther on less, and businesses and appliances got more energy efficient even as their numbers increased. Improving technology enabled oil producers to locate and extract more resources. So “global warming” became the reason to push… View Article

The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)

Governor Nathan Deal more quotes