Category: Environment

By Paul Chesser Entrepreneurs in industries tied to the energy efficiency gambit, justified by the climate change House of Cards, all have the same false bravado: They are “game changers” and “market leaders” (for products nobody wants); all their squandered revenues are “investments;” their technological breakthroughs are always “just around the corner;” and it just takes one more round of mandates/grants/loans/tax breaks to achieve viability in the free market. It’s true of renewable energy and electric vehicles, and as Cree Inc. CEO Chuck Swoboda revealed recently, it’s true of the alternative light bulb industry, too. In a shareholder meeting at the company’s Durham, NC, headquarters, he boasted about his marketing acumen that he says will persuade the public to embrace… View Article

Some Organic Food for Thought

By Harold Brown Despite the claims that organic food is safer and more nutritious, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) simply won’t say so. And it’s not alone. On its National Organic Program Web site, the agency remarks, “USDA makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.” Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, requiring the USDA to develop national standards for organic products. Yet, 23 years later, the USDA still will not validate the organic ads. Then there’s the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Asked on its Web site, “Are foods made with ‘organic’ ingredients safer than those made with ingredients from other sources?” the FDA’s response is,… View Article

Proposed CO2 Standards: Expensive Hot Air

By Benita M. Dodd (This commentary is the basis for testimony by Benita Dodd on behalf of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation at the EPA Listening Session on 111(d) Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants in Atlanta on October 23 and was submitted in full to the EPA.) The Foundation believes that tougher standards on carbon dioxide emissions being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and under discussion at the EPA’s 11 listening sessions around the nation will have unfortunate consequences for the United States. This nation holds the world’s largest estimated recoverable reserves of coal; in fact, the United States is a net exporter of coal. In 2012, 81 percent of the coal produced in the nation was… View Article

Acid Rain Cleans Up Its Act

By Harold Brown 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 monuments.” These days, acid rain barely musters a… View Article

The Fracking Revolution

By Daniel Benjamin 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 range from groundwater contamination… View Article
 By Benita M. Dodd  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 forests dominate private ownership with 13.5 million… 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
  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 for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)… View Article
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 businesses 364 percent more than large… View Article
By Benita M. 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 the “… View Article

“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.

State Senator Eric Johnson, President pro tempore, Georgia State Senate more quotes