Response to “2004 Energy reneges on intent”:
The solution to the US’ environmental problems is not more State intervention in the free market — as Brielle Welzer argues — but radical privitization and reduction of intervention, as Murray Rothbard has argued in “For a New Liberty”.
Pollution problems stem from inadequate enforcement of private property rights and the socialization of property. In the late 19th century, factories emitted smog that damaged the orchards of nearby farmers. When the farmers took the factories to court, asking for damages and injuctions, the courts ruled that the general welfare over-ruled the farmers’ private property rights.
The rivers, lakes, oceans, and air are generally “owned” by the government. Government “ownership”, however, is different from private ownership. Bureaucrats control the resources, but have no private property rights in them, thus cannot sell them. Rather than having the incentive to preserve the value of the controlled resource, bureaucrats have incentives to exhaust the resource while they still control it.
The solution to pollution problems is to privitize State-controlled resources and to enforce property rights in them. Once these resources are privitized, we can treat pollution as a tort, and punish specific individuals or corporations who aggress against the property rights of specific individuals. Furthermore, perhaps some of the billions of dollars saved by eliminating the complex mess of environmental regulations would be spent on research to produce cleaner technology.
PS: Note to editor. If you publish this, please do not publish my phone number.