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OpenMarket: Lands and Wildlife

  • It's Nothing Death, Poverty, and Ignorance Can't Fix

    May 5, 2011
    The New York Times "Room for Debate" frets today about overpopulation (h/t Don Boudreaux). Julian Simon and liberty have long since come to the rescue, in case anybody's listening. As Fred Smith at the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out, people are not just mouths and stomachs; they're also hands and brains. So free them.
  • Human Achievement of the Day: Tree-Bombing Planes

    March 8, 2011
    As our frenemies over at Treehugger wrote last October about how Lockheed Martin had come up with an ingenious idea for its 2,500 decommissioned Hercules cargo planes: mass-planting of trees. As The Guardian reports, while these planes were once used for aerial assaults, they can now drop sapling-containing cones instead of land mines -- about 3,000 cones a minute or about 900,000 a day. According to Peter Simmons from Lockheed Martin:
    Equipment we developed for precision planting of fields of landmines can be adapted easily for planting trees. ...The tree...
  • Human Achievement of the Day: Turning Plastic Waste Back into Oil

    March 7, 2011
    This “human achievement of the day” is a true example of why we at CEI and many others around the world choose to celebrate the ingenuity expressed when individuals can exploit resources. Apart from increasing personal wealth and improving the quality of life for humans around the globe, it is technology, not “conservation,” that results in more “environmentally friendly” technologies. The machine that turns plastic waste into oil is just one example of this. The miracle of plastics: The invention of plastic is arguable one of the most important contributions to the improving quality of human life. Plastics are used in...
  • CEI Podcast for February 3, 2011: The EPA vs. West Virginia

    February 3, 2011
    Energy Policy Analyst William Yeatman looks over the EPA's recent decision to deny a mining permit in Logan County, West Virginia.
  • On Mountaintop Mining Veto, EPA Is Guilty of Environmental Hyperbole

    February 1, 2011
    On January 13, the Environmental Protection Agency vetoed the issuance of a Clean Water Act permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Mingo Logan Coal Company for the Spruce No 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia. This is the first time EPA has used this authority. We're in the midst of a difficult economy, and EPA's unprecedented action will result in the loss of 250 jobs, paying on average $62,000, so you would think the EPA has compelling case against the Spruce No 1 Mine. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. I audited the EPA's veto, titled "Final Determination of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to 404(c) of the Clean Water Act Concerning the Spruce No. 1 Mine, Logan County, West Virginia ("Final Determination"), and what I found was troubling. The document is pure environmental hyperbole. It is riddled with mistakes, incorrect citations, and false certainty...
  • A New Course for Wild Tigers

    November 24, 2010
    A New York Times editorial highlights a struggle faced by the wild tiger, noting its population is down to approximately 3,200 from a high of over 100,000 just one century ago. Tigers face a number of challenges: their wild populations occupy a dwindling amount of space -- putting pressure on their habitats, and a variety of tiger parts are highly valued, specifically by the Chinese. Read the Times quote:
    Ending the international trade in tiger parts, which are still believed to have almost magical powers in China and across Asia, will be harder to solve. This isn’t a matter of stopping a few poachers. It means shutting down hard-core traffickers and a high-profit black market. Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, is scheduled to attend on Wednesday, the final day of...
  • Voters Rejected Enviro-Alarmism About Gulf Oil Spill

    November 19, 2010
    My colleague Ben Lieberman's thoughtful op-ed in The Washington Times focuses on voters' rejection of environmental alarmism about the Gulf oil spill. It appears that voters discounted the exaggerated claims of Gulf devastation and were more concerned instead about the moratorium on offshore drilling and its devastating effect on jobs. With a faltering economy, voters didn't appreciate the Administration's job-killing over-reaction. As Lieberman said:
    "For a while, it was fashionable to ridicule those who had chanted "Drill, baby, drill" during the 2008 race. Opponents of domestic drilling thought they had a defining issue heading into the midterms. "Now the "Drill, baby, drill" crowd is back - and they'll be returning to Washington with quite a few new...
  • Fiscal Commission Should Support Increased Energy Production, Not Increased Energy Taxes

    November 15, 2010
    Among the many suggestions in the Fiscal Commission's draft report is a 15 cents-per-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax. No doubt, this proposed tax hike would raise revenues and make a modest dent in the deficit, but it would do so at the expense of the driving public and would disproportionately burden low-income motorists. There's a better way. If raising energy-related revenues is the goal, why not fill federal coffers in a manner that actually reduces the price at the pump? Washington can accomplish this by allowing more oil drilling. The federal government controls all offshore areas beyond three miles from the coast as well as vast expanses of energy-rich western lands. Unfortunately, only a fraction of these areas have been opened to energy leasing, due...
  • Massive Property Tax Increases Coming for Homeowners in Northern Virginia

    November 8, 2010
    Homeowners in Northern Virginia may face massive, record-setting property tax increases of 20 percent or more in the upcoming year. One reason is the EPA's costly proposed stormwater regulations, which it plans to impose on counties near Washington, D.C., in the name of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. The Washington Examiner reported on Sunday that these new regulations would cost Fairfax County alone nearly $4 billion, resulting in an annual property tax increase for a typical homeowner by $650: "In Fairfax County, which is expecting to pay as much as $3.75 billion over the next 15 years to meet the EPA's new standards, property taxes would have to be increased by 14 cents per $100 of a home's assessed value, Randy Bartlett, the county's storm water...
  • Rare Earths -- Not So Rare?

    October 28, 2010
    What do yttrium, ytterbium, erbium and terbium have in common?  They are rare earth elements first found in the Swedish town of Ytterby between 1828 and 1878 and named after that town in the periodic table. These are just a few interesting facts about rare earths in the "Trade Fact of the Day" from the Democratic Leadership Council. There's been a lot of talk lately about rare earths, even from people who can't pronounce their names, in relation to China's purported monopoly of these elements, used for a wide variety of technological applications such as digital communications, hard drives, solar panels, and motors for hybrid vehicles. There's also some fear that China may reduce its exports of rare earths to show its displeasure with some countries. It turns out that rare earths aren't really...

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