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OpenMarket: Lands and Wildlife

  • CSR and Oil Companies: The Truth Dawns?

    August 4, 2010
    The environmental left is in some disarray following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  After all, BP had trumpeted for years the idea that it was 'Beyond Petroleum.'  Shell and ChevronTexaco had mounted similar campaigns.  All had collected numerous awards for their commitment to sustainability and other objectives of the green lobby.  Yet here was BP responsible for worst environmental disaster many people had seen.  The hand-wringing is palpable among the Corporate Social Responsibility mavens.  Here's the conclusion of one group, EthicalCorp:
    Many in the CSR community have discussed the disaster in the context of the oil industry at large. BP, they reason, was certainly ahead of its competitors in discussing the responsibility of an energy company to address climate change and invest in alternative energy...
  • The Environment is a Luxury Good

    August 3, 2010
    One of the central insights of Free-Market Environmentalism is that people treat the environment as a luxury good.  They are willing to pay for it when they have spare money, but not when they don't.  That's why treating the environment as a tax, which is how statist environmentalism works, arouses resentment, while treating it as a privately-owned asset, like FME does, promotes stewardship and conservation. There's more evidence for this view from a new study, Environmental Concern and the Business Cycle: The Chilling Effect of Recession.  Here's the abstract:
    This paper uses three different sources of data to investigate the association between the business cycle—measured with unemployment rates—and environmental concern. Building on recent research that finds internet search terms to be useful predictors of health...
  • EPA, Not Jones Act, Blocked Dutch Skimmers

    July 14, 2010
    It was apparently the EPA, not the Jones Act, that blocked Dutch skimmers from cleaning up the oil spill in Louisiana in late April:
    Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. "Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour," Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the...
  • Readers Contest Factcheck.Org's "Oil Spill, Foreign Help, and the Jones Act"

    July 12, 2010 argued that the Jones Act, which ordinarily bans both foreign ships and foreign crews from working in U.S. waters, did not interfere with foreign assistance in cleaning up the massive oil spill at BP's Deepwater Horizon.  Factcheck readers like Jarrett Wampler disagreed, and called FactCheck's reasoning flawed.  As he notes:
    Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, and even Democrats in Congress, have criticized the Obama Administration for...
  • Blowout Prevention Act Would Blowout Domestic Oil Production

    July 1, 2010
    Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing on H.R. 5626, the Blowout Prevention Act of 2010. Although the sponsors claim their intent is simply to prevent a disaster like the blowout of BP's Macondo deepwater well from ever happening again, the bill would establish, as a precondition for obtaining a permit to drill, a test no oil company can pass. Let's look at the bill's first substantive provision: SEC. 2. NO DRILLING WITHOUT DEMONSTRATED ABILITY  TO PREVENT AND CONTAIN LEAKS. (a) FEDERALLY PERMITTED HIGH-RISK WELLS.— Effective one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the appropriate Federal official shall not issue a permit to drill for a high-risk well unless the applicant for such permit demonstrates, the Chief Executive Officer of...
  • Blowout Prevention Act -- or Oil Production Prevention Act?

    June 30, 2010
    That's the question I address today on the free-market energy blog, MasterResource.Org.  This morning, the  House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment is holding a hearing on the Blowout Prevention Act. The bill text says that the federal government "shall not" issue a permit for an offshore oil well unless the applicant can "demonstrate" that he has the "capacity to promptly stop a blowout in the event the blowout...
  • New Federal Interference With Oil-Spill Clean-Up: Feds Stop Louisiana From Dredging Needed to Create Protective Sand Berms

    June 23, 2010
    A TV station in New Orleans reports that "the federal government is shutting down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico."   Louisiana planned to create the sand berms to prevent the massive BP oil spill from polluting its coastline. Earlier, a federal judge blocked Obama's drilling ban on offshore drilling, citing deception by Obama administration officials.  The ban applied mostly to oil companies with...
  • Judge rules Obama deepwater drilling ban "arbitrary and capricious"

    June 23, 2010
    Yesterday, Judge Martin Feldman of the Eastern Louisiana District Court lifted the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on all oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in waters over 500 feet in depth.  Feldman held that the moratorium was "arbitrary and capricious" and would do "irreparable harm" to businesses that own, operate, and service vessels used to support offshore drilling -- an industry critical to the region's economy. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar imposed the moratorium on May 28 in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill. Judge Feldman found the moratorium to be "arbitrary and capricious" on several grounds....
  • Judge Blocks Gulf Drilling Ban, Citing Deception by Obama Administration; Obama Continues to Delay Gulf Clean-Up

    June 22, 2010
    A federal judge has just blocked the Obama administration from imposing a blanket ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  Judge Martin Feldman cited blatantly false claims by the Obama administration in its report imposing the ban, and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, which protects against arbitrary government actions.  Earlier, Obama had delayed a clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico by Louisiana and foreign countries, by imposing unnecessary red tape. "Judge Feldman hones in on...
  • Obama Administration Blocks Clean-Up of Oil Spill by Louisiana and Foreign Allies By Imposing Red Tape

    June 18, 2010
    The Obama Administration recently used red tape to force Louisiana to stop using 16 barges that were cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico by sucking thousands of gallons of oil out of Louisiana's oil-soaked waters. Earlier, it delayed the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico by months, by blocking foreign crews from operating sophisticated clean-up vessels.  The Jones Act bans foreign vessels and crews from working in U.S. waters, but it gives the president the authority to completely waive that ban if he wishes.  Obama refused to lift the ban, even though American shippers who generally support...


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