Category: Environment

Acid Rain Cleans Up Its Act

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Over the decades it’s become clear that an environmental crisis is the media’s baby; environmental progress is an orphan. Acid rain was an environmental calamity in the 1980s, claiming much media and public attention. The New York Times printed 338 articles with “acid rain” in the headline from 1975 to 2009; 85 percent were in the 1980s, an average of 29 per year. Some congressmen were up in arms about the “crisis.” U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman of California wrote in the Baltimore Sun in 1983 that rain as acid as vinegar was falling in virtually every state, “corrupting our natural resources” and “eating away at our buildings, automobiles and… View Article

The Fracking Revolution

By Daniel Benjamin Daniel BenjaminPERC Senior Fello Beginning in 2005 natural gas production in the United States has risen sharply. This has caused natural gas prices to fall, lowering energy costs and expanding natural gas consumption at the expense of coal. The new natural gas also fuels the turbines that serve as backup power for new wind and solar power installations. The source of these events is the rapidly spreading use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract natural gas from shale. This technique entails the injection of water, sand, and small amounts of chemicals deep underground to fracture the shale and release the natural gas it contains. Concerns have arisen, however, over the potential adverse effects of fracking—events said to… View Article
 By Benita M. Dodd  Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? Neither Barbara Walters nor the average Georgian would be aware of this, but if you want to be considered green, you don’t want to be a plantation tree. That’s because trees from plantations – tree farms – are just not “green” enough for some.   The average Georgian has no idea, either, that the forestry industry employs one in 10 workers in Georgia and generates more than $25 billion in economic activity. Most of that is by the private sector: Of the 24.8 million acres of timberland in Georgia, private owners control 22.2 million acres (91 percent). Individual/family… View Article
By Harold Brown Hurricane Sandy has been described as a harbinger of what comes with rising seas: the inundation of coastal cities, devastating storm surges, destruction of coastal wetlands and abandonment of land. The story is simple: Glaciers melt and oceans warm, causing seas to rise. The reality, however, is anything but simple. The sea has been rising since the last ice age, but at a variable and poorly known rate. Long-term measurements are necessary to establish an accurate trend, but measurements were few in the 19th and early 20th centuries, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. More than two thirds of the 322 world sea level records listed on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site are 50… View Article
  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

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Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2015) more quotes