The Competitive Enterprise Institute Daily Update
Farm experts warn of increasing price volatility as U.S. farmers plant more corn to meet the demand for ethanol.
CEI Expert Available to Comment: Adjunct Analyst Dennis Avery on the environmental impact of increasing farm production to meet the demand for alternative fuels:
“The United States might well have to clear an additional 50 million acres of forest—or more—to produce economically significant amounts of liquid transport fuels. Despite the legend of past U.S farm surpluses, the only large reservoir of underused cropland in America is about 30 million acres of land—too dry for corn—enrolled in the Conservation Reserve. Ethanol mandates may force the local loss of many wildlife species, and perhaps trigger some species extinctions. Soil erosion will increase radically as large quantities of low-quality land are put into fuel crops on steep slopes and in drought-prone regions.”
Lawmakers worry that advances in genetic testing could result in individuals with certain inherited conditions being denied health insurance.
“Fortunately, it is not true that carrying a genetic mutation for a given disease is a guarantee that the disease will eventually arise. Most genetic mutations only increase the probability of developing the disease, and most such diseases can be prevented or treated once the carrier knows about the mutation. Furthermore, it is already illegal for most health insurers to discriminate against potential customers on the basis of genetic test information.”
The Supreme Court rules that the Environmental Protection Agency does have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.
“When Gore’s presidency was thwarted by the December 2000 Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, the Clinton EPA scrambled in its waning days to launch a regulatory process for regulating carbon dioxide from automobile tailpipes, issuing an eleventh-hour ‘request for [public] comment,’ one week before the inauguration of President Bush. Though President Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol, his EPA nonetheless continued the regulatory process, ultimately denying the petition in September 2003.”