A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from December 0

Dakota Access Pipeline: Leaking the Facts

By David Hutzelman -- February 3, 2017

“So, first thing to understand that what’s taking place there is the—everybody else acknowledging what some of us have known for a long time, which is that frontline communities, and particularly indigenous people, have been in the forefront of this climate fight. They were in the Keystone fight, and now clearly in the Dakotas. They’re holding the line against something that threatens not only their reservation, but threatens the whole planet. We do not—we cannot pump more oil. We’ve got to stop opening up new reserves.”

Bill McKibben, September 30, 2016

Bypassing the hysterical anti-fossil fuel tirades which seemingly characterize the majority of the non-Indian pipeline protesters, there are some seemingly plausible claims about the legality and safety of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and its route.

Regarding safety, it is relevant to remember that the crude oil which this one-thousand-mile pipeline will transport is now being carried in railroad tank cars, which are relatively more susceptible to spills and will be supplanted.…

Texas Railroad Commission: A Libertarian Candidacy

By David Hutzelman -- October 12, 2016

“Mark Miller, the Libertarian Party candidate, has been endorsed by four major Texas newspapers. His campaign focuses on responsible fracking procedures, rights of surface property owners in drilling areas, and the need to rename the commission to the Texas Oil and Gas Commission.”

The misnamed Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), which actually regulates crude oil and natural gas production, may soon encounter significant change. Dr. Mark Miller, a Stanford University petroleum engineering PhD, former University of Texas professor, and oilfield entrepreneur is campaigning for a seat on the three-seat Commission.

Charged with the inherently conflicting goals of both promoting and regulating oil and gas in Texas, the Commission has long been a refuge for cronyism and aspiring politicians lacking any credible qualifications for the position. In its earlier life, TRC’s  “market proration authority” was used as a template by OPEC for international supply restrictions.…

Government as Referee: Who Regulates the Regulators?

By David Hutzelman -- October 14, 2011

A recent opinion-page editorial by a Ray Hankamer Jr. in the Houston Chronicle, Government as Referee for Society, espoused big government to promote basic protection in a modern society. 

Such is the romantic view of government; the Good Government and We the People view of democracy where the body politic is all of us (not us versus them). But the real world is different from this all-to-common textbook view.

Romantic Government

Hankamer begins:

“Leave the market alone and it will self-regulate just fine.” “Stop taxing the people and let them spend their own money instead of letting the government take it and waste it on ‘meddlesome bureaucrats and business-stifling regulators.'” This is the viewpoint of the tea party and many Republicans. But wait a minute: How would such a philosophy really work if implemented?