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On the Big Energy and Environmental Picture (good reading Sunday)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 22, 2009

I have in front of me the recent Cato Handbook for Policymakers (2008). The Cato Institute advertises it as follows:

Now in its seventh edition, the Cato Handbook for Policymakers sets the standard in Washington for real cuts in federal spending, taxes, and power. It offers an issue-by-issue detailed blueprint for reducing the federal government to the limits intended by the Founding Fathers. Providing both in-depth analysis and concrete recommendations, Cato’s Handbook is an invaluable resource for policymakers and anyone else interested in securing liberty through limited government.

Energy. Chapter 43, “Energy Policy,” prepared by Cato senior fellows Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, has the following summary:

Congress should
? open up public lands currently off limits to the oil and gas
industry in the outer continental shelf and the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge for exploration and drilling;
? repeal Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency standards along with
all other energy conservation mandates;
? repeal subsidies for all energy industries, including oil, gas,
coal, nuclear, and renewable energies of all kinds;
? repeal fuel consumption mandates for ethanol and resist prospective consumption mandates for other renewable energies;
? eliminate all targeted public energy research and development
programs and replace them with a generalized tax credit for
private research and development undertakings;
? transfer the maintenance of the nuclear weapons stockpile from
the Department of Energy to the Department of Defense and
privatize the national laboratories;
? sell the oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and terminate
the program;
? eliminate the Department of Energy and all its programs; and
? refuse appeals to impose new taxes and/or regulations on
energy producers and manufacturers.

To these points I can add: repeal public-utility regulation for interstate oil pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and electric transmission facilities. Maybe there are other priorities to add as well.

Environment. Chapter 44, “Environmental Policy,” prepared by Jerry Taylor, has the following summary:

Congress should
? Establish a mechanism by which states can apply for regulatory
waivers from the Environmental Protection Agency in order
to allow states some flexibility in establishing environmental
priorities and to facilitate experiments in innovative regulatory
? replace the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide
Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act with a consumer
products labeling program under the auspices of the Food and
Drug Administration;
? repeal the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and privatize the cleanup of Superfund sites;
? replace the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act with minimal standards for discharge into groundwater aquifers;
? eliminate federal subsidies and programs that exacerbate environmental damage; and
? replace the Endangered Species Act and section 404 of the
Clean Water Act with a federal biological trust fund.

Any other major items to add here? Note that the next chapter, “Global Warming and Climate Change,” by Cato senior fellow Patrick Michaels, has this summary:

Congress should
? pass no legislation restricting emissions of carbon dioxide,
? repeal current ethanol mandates, and
? inform the public about how little climate change would be
prevented by proposed legislation.

It is good that after 20 years of heated debate, there is not more to repeal regarding global warming policy on the federal side. Let’s hope that this summary does not expand in the 8th edition.

One Comment for “On the Big Energy and Environmental Picture (good reading Sunday)”

  1. The Oil Price Boom - We Hardly Knew Ye — MasterResource  

    […] mentioned in a post yesterday, Cato just published a rather encylopedic Cato Handbook for Policymakers.  Text is due […]


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