Category: Environment

EPA’s Coal Wars Could Sink America’s Economy

By James H. Rust While campaigning in San Francisco during the Democratic Party primaries in January 2008, presidential candidate Obama told The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” Once elected, President Obama tried to keep his promise through the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey Bill, which narrowly passed the House 219-212. Its cap-and-trade provision on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would put a price on CO2 emissions and gradually reduce emissions allowed until they reach 17 percent of the … View Article

Pipeline from Canada Trickles Down to Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd Choosing between energy independence and energy security is like choosing between cherry pie and pie-in-the-sky: Only one is real. A 1,700-mile planned oil pipeline from Canada to Texas could bring security to this nation’s oil supply, but environmental activists and (more recently) “Occupy” types pushing for pie-in-the-sky independence from fossil fuel energy are doing everything they can to deny Americans energy security. The $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline would carry more than a half-million barrels of oil a day from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, across several U.S. states to U.S. refineries in the Gulf.  It holds enormous promise for the United States, which imports about half of its oil. First, the Canadian-financed pipeline assures… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The federal Environmental Protection Agency was in Atlanta on May 26 to hold a daylong hearing – one of just three nationwide – on its proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations for utilities. The passionate – if sometimes misguided – comments came from representatives of utilities, power plant neighbors, Native Americans, environmental activists, grassroots groups and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The Foundation’s comments focused on three aspects of the proposed MACT rules: The cost to industry and consumers in Georgia The time frame, both in the limited opportunity for analysis of the 945 pages of regulations and in the compliance deadline The basis for the EPA’s tougher regulations. The cost to industry and consumers: View Article

Energy Solutions in Pursuit of a Problem

By Benita M. Dodd Georgians are nervously watching petroleum prices climb amid ongoing unrest in oil producer Libya. Under the Gold Dome, legislators are again subjected to the perennial push for home-grown alternatives to fossil fuels. Just this week, German experts took a new tack at the Capitol with a promising presentation on renewable sources of energy and their economic benefits. The temptation is great, but legislators must focus on commonsense policy that promotes cost-effective, clean energy. Germany has made remarkable inroads into renewable energy generation. Renewables have grown from 4 percent to about 10 percent of Germany’s energy portfolio over the past decade, German scientist Christine Woerlen told legislators. Not the least of the benefits, according to Woerlen, is… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The first thing to know about Georgia’s water worries is that just as Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem but a spending problem, Georgia doesn’t have a water supply problem but a water storage problem. And with a busy session and a cash-strapped state facing Georgia’s legislators, members of a joint committee on water supply got a head start this week on the challenges ahead. There were some outside-the-box proposals, but there’s still more that could be done. Georgia’s annual rainfall averages 60 inches in the mountains, 55 inches across North Georgia and about 45 inches in central Georgia. But now that a judge has ruled that Lake Lanier, metro Atlanta’s major water source, was never… View Article

Environmental Gobbledygook, Economic Gridlock

By Benita M. Dodd Which is the environmentally sound approach, policy-makers seeing job creation as the key to economic recovery or environmental groups pushing for stringent prohibitions on interbasin transfers in Georgia? It may seem like a no-brainer, but even for Georgians who believe they know the answer, there’s one caveat:  It’s an election year.   Georgia legislators are under pressure to satisfy constituents at home who are concerned about losing water from “their” rivers and streams to metro Atlanta. The two Georgias debate, the us-versus-them of rural Georgia and metro Atlanta is fertile ground for fearmongering activists sowing the seeds of environmental “dangers” in moving water from one river basin to another. What’s the connection between the economy and interbasin… View Article

Land Protection Through Private Alternatives

Jefferson G. Edgens Governor Barnes should be commended for his proposal to protect 20 percent of open space. Not only is this a good idea, but it stresses two important points: local governments decide what areas to protect, and the program is voluntary. The only point of disagreement is using general appropriations to buy the land. The Governor’s plan requests $30 million for his 20 percent goal, but this is less than 10% of what a recent survey of Georgia county and city officials estimate is needed to protect 18,300 acres. When government uses funds to buy land to preserve open space, it means the dollars can’t be used for something else. Moreover, it creates a sense of entitlement. Local… View Article

Whither Your Weather Depends on Station Location

By Benita M. Dodd For years, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International and Chicago’s O’Hare airports have competed for the title of nation’s busiest airport. Last year, Atlanta won. As the official temperature stations for their respective cities, however, it seems the two airports tie – for the dubious honor of distorted data. And they’re not the only ones. In 2008, meteorologist Anthony Watts wrote in the Illinois-based Heartland Institute’s Environment and Climate News: “The community around O’Hare was much smaller during World War II, when the airport was built, than it is now. The area had a significantly less-urban population and lacked the acres of concrete and asphalt that exist there today.” You could replace “O’Hare” with “Hartsfield-Jackson,” and the same would… View Article

Removing the Political Shortage of Water

By H. Sterling Burnett and Ross Wingo About 82 percent of Americans receive drinking water via publicly owned water systems, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many of these municipal and regional systems operate at a loss, meaning users’ fees don’t cover the cost of treating and delivering the water. Many water authorities are critically behind on maintenance. They lack the capital to update their water purification and wastewater treatment plants or to secure additional water supplies to meet expected growth in demand. Privatization could solve these water supply problems. The majority of drinking water supply and treatment facilities and wastewater treatment plants in the United States are owned and operated by the government. According to the EPA,… View Article

Fault Feds, not Atlanta, for Lanier’s Woes

By Chick Krautler Today, Lake Lanier is more than 13 feet below its full pool and nearly 10 feet lower than it was this time last year. The state climatologist sees the next few weeks as critical in determining the extent and severity of the 2008 drought. By contrast, the reservoirs downstream from metro Atlanta are virtually full. This fact underscores the assertion of ARC and the metro Atlanta water utilities that Lanier’s record lows have more to do with how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has operated the dam than the drought or claims that Atlanta’s growth has outstripped its water supply. For more than a year and a half, the Corps tried to use Lake Lanier and… View Article

Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.

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