Sarah Palin has an interesting oped that makes the case for more drilling, refinery development, and expolation in the United States, and warns of the dangers of one-size-fits-all attempts to push renewable energy. One important and often overlooked point is how our fixation on stringent environmental laws here encourages greater development in countries that are much less environmentally responsible. She writes:
Those who oppose domestic drilling are motivated primarily by environmental considerations, but many of the countries we’re forced to import from have few if any environmental-protection laws, and those that do exist often go unenforced. In effect, American environmentalists are preventing responsible development here at home while supporting irresponsible development overseas.
So energy development can be environmentally responsible, in addition to helping give our economy a much needed boost.
Robert Samuelson makes a related point today. He suggests that there are few good options for bolstering the economy given our enormous debt and the potential for the dollar’s value to erode further. The best we can do is find ways that the government impedes growth and job creation that don’t create more debt. He writes:
A middle way would be to scour government for policies that discourage job creation. Consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal requiring permits for large industrial facilities emitting 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually. New plants or expansions would need permits demonstrating they’re using “the best practices and technologies” (whatever they might be) to minimize six greenhouse gases. Permits would be granted on a case-by-case basis; the proposed rule is 416 pages of dense legalese.
How could this promote investment and job creation, except for lawyers and consultants? Government erects many employment obstacles: restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling; unapproved trade agreements; some regulations. But reducing these barriers would require the Obama administration to choose between its professed interest in more jobs and its many other goals — a choice it has so far avoided.
Before Administration officials start considering ways that government is already impeding growth through ill-conceived regulation, why don’t they start by stopping their charge to create more counter-productive regulations (like cap-and-trade, low-carbon fuel standards, to name just two). They could calculate how many jobs they save just be abandoning their own plans…