Category: Environment

Commentary: Clearing the Air on Saving Americans’ Lives

By R. Harold Brown Did you know that America’s cleaner air has saved more than 2.5 million lives over 20 years? It was news to me, but it must be true: It’s reported on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site. In fact, despite this impressive statistic being around since 1997, I dare say it’s news to most citizens. Neither the EPA nor others that I’m aware of are trumpeting this victory. It’s more likely that Georgians have heard the dire warnings of danger from the “spewing” of toxins from smokestacks and engine exhausts, and the projected number of deaths unless said “spewing” stops. Just one example is the Clean Air Task Force’s report in 2000 that claimed, “Nationwide, power-plant… View Article

Tougher Air Standards Demand Sensible Solutions

By Benita M. Dodd Good news certainly is proving to be no news now that metro Atlanta’s 2003 ozone season has ended. After all, alarmists wouldn’t want residents to know that the 13-county metro area designated in non-attainment with federal air quality standards is doing quite well, thank you. Air quality has improved despite increasingly strident warnings; despite regional foot-dragging on congestion relief and a massive population, industry and automobile increase since the first two emissions monitors were installed in January 1981. Even so, confused residents are left trying to decipher whether the air indoors or outdoors is the healthier choice during the May-September ozone monitoring season. This year, the state Environmental Protection Division issued 18 color-coded smog day alerts,… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Good news certainly is proving to be no news now that metro Atlanta’s 2003 ozone season has ended. After all, alarmists wouldn’t want residents to know that the 13-county metro area designated in non-attainment with federal air quality standards is doing quite well, thank you. Air quality has improved despite increasingly strident warnings; despite regional foot-dragging on congestion relief and a massive population, industry and automobile increase since the first two emissions monitors were installed in January 1981. Even so, confused residents are left trying to decipher whether the air indoors or outdoors is the healthier choice during the May-September ozone monitoring season. This year, the state Environmental Protection Division issued 18 color-coded smog day alerts,… View Article
By James D. Giattina Land use and water quality are inextricably linked. Development almost always creates impervious surfaces – the roofs, streets, parking lots and sidewalks – that increase the volume of runoff and pollutants entering our watershed. These problems have contributed to a wave of new efforts to minimize the impacts of development, efforts variously known as low impact development; conservation design; mixed use development; neo-traditional neighborhood design; Main Street revitalization; transit-oriented development or smart growth. In communities around the country, and particularly in this region, there has been a growing concern that low-density development – also known as sprawl – has not only created longer commutes and car rides but left us with stormwater and other drainage problems… View Article
By Sara Pilzer Any official who visits a Georgia river, stream or creek after a heavy rain understands why Brant Keller is a wanted man. Keller is director of the Griffin Stormwater Utility. The city of 24,000 is Georgia’s first local government to implement a practical – and successful – solution to one of the state’s most serious challenges in meeting federal water quality standards: stormwater runoff. The problem, according to the state Environmental Protection Division, is that “Residential, commercial and industrial development has directly affected natural resource areas and wildlife habitats by replacing natural cover with impervious surfaces like asphalt and concrete.” “Rivers and streams are affected by erosion and sedimentation, stormwater runoff and municipal and industrial discharge.” The… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd There’s not a single good reason for Asthma Awareness Month. There are, in fact, more than 20.3 million good reasons, all of them Americans who report currently suffering form asthma. And among them are 6.3 million children. Marking World Asthma Day on May 6, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson acknowledged asthma as “one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States.” He announced federal grants would fund innovative community-based disease prevention and control programs. The Environmental Protection Agency marked the day differently, announcing a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop an air-quality forecasting tool. “The 31 million Americans with asthma, including 9 million children, will breathe… View Article
By Ronald G. Cummings Over the last year or so there has been considerable controversy in Georgia concerning policies related to the planning and management of Georgia’s water resources. Two key issues in this controversy relate to protecting public interests in water, and reliance on markets as a means for resolving critical problems in reallocating water over time. These two issues are often combined within the context of the question: “Are Georgia’s waters a public resource or a commodity to be bought and sold?” This question is at best confusing and at worst misleading. The issue of whether or not Georgia’s water resources are a “public resource” is one that is independent of – not related to – the issue… View Article

Many Questions Remain for Atlanta After United Water

By Geoffrey F. Segal On Friday, January 24, the city of Atlanta terminated its rocky relationship with United Water, ending the venture into private water operation. Over the past several months the mayor and her staff have let it be known that they were unhappy with United’s performance operating the city’s waterworks—resulting in a three-month cure period that abruptly ended Friday afternoon. During this period, both sides painted themselves into a corner, leaving little or no room to maneuver. Perhaps the termination was nothing more than the culmination of months of political pressure and stances from which the city could not back away. Unfortunately, the people of Atlanta will still be paying for this costly decision for years to come.… View Article

The Atlanta Water Privatization: What Can We Learn?

By Geoffrey F. Segal I. Context In 1997, the City of Atlanta privatized their waterworks system, entering into a 20-year contract with United Water. At the time, it was the largest and longest privatization of infrastructure in U.S. history. The deal garnered many awards including one from the National Council on Public-Private Partnerships and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. However, in the past few months several issues have arisen in Atlanta regarding the performance of the water system, contractor payments or change orders, and the status of the system before the contract was entered into. Ultimately, while not perfect, the Atlanta water privatization presents a valuable opportunity from which to learn—if nothing else, it teaches us what not to do.… View Article
Wendell Cox Introduction The Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area1  has adopted the nation’s strongest so-called “smart growth” policies. Metro, the regional government, has adopted a wide range of policies to fight what is pejoratively referred to as urban sprawl and restrict the expansion of the developed (urbanized) area. Smart growth is also referred to asurban containment. Strategies include an urban growth boundary (UGB), that forbids most urban development on the outside, incentives for “infill” development in older areas, and other measures to increase population densities, especially along corridors served by public transit. Moreover, Metro’s policies are generally opposed to the expansion of highways, and the area has constructed a light rail system that provides services from… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been doing important work for the free enterprise movement for the past 20 years.  I can assure you from the vantage of a non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. with much the same principles as GPPF that the work we do simply would not be possible if it were not for the important work that GPPF does.  We see it, we understand it, it is an inspiration to us, it is the kind of thing that will translate into the important work that we can do in Washington, D.C.  We thank you very much for that.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2011) more quotes