The Executive Branch decides to enforce, rather than make, the laws
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By jank - Last updated: Thursday, August 28, 2003 - Save & Share - 13 Comments

More high sulfur coal for the environmental fire: The EPA “will not”:http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N27198975.htm regulate CO2 as a pollutant. Which is good news for those of us who breathe. I won’t have to worry about getting a permit for producing excess pollutants when I go jogging tonight.

bq. _”I don’t think it’s our place to be looking for creative interpretations of an act to deal with a major policy issue like this before Congress has spoken with it,” (said Jeff Holmstead, EPA’s assistant administrator for air quality)._

Truthfully, I’m split on this. I’m all about more efficient cars, etc, but I think it’s up to the automakers to come up with attractive fuel efficient models. Which I think is happening via hybrids, efficient diesels, etc, without gvmt intervention, due to environmental concerns, concerns about supporting terrorists w/ oil money, and generally rising gas prices. I’m for more efficient power plants and alternative sources, but again, I think it’s up to researchers to make alternatives more affordable instead of mandating changes, with all costs passed directly to consumers.

Fire at will.

Posted in Politics • • Top Of Page

13 Responses to “The Executive Branch decides to enforce, rather than make, the laws”

Comment from KellyMc
Time August 28, 2003 at 12:37 pm

but again, I think it’s up to researchers to make alternatives more affordable instead of mandating changes, with all costs passed directly to consumers.

I’m not at all well-versed in these economics, so I’m honestly curious …

Absent government regulation, what would cause the market to produce a product that is costlier to develop and produce?

I would guess higher gas prices are one incentive, but there should be some way to get the ball rolling before we’re in another energy crisis. (But I do think you’re right that the innovations we’re seeing now are evidence that it’s happening already.)

Aside: can we do our own informal regular unleaded gas price sound-off?

I saw $1.91 up the street yesterday.

Comment from Rick
Time August 28, 2003 at 12:50 pm

Chicken and egg, to some extent. When you design a product or service (as a business), you do it to meet a demand and (hopefully – if you do it well and the demand really existed and you aren’t crushed by competition, etc.)… make some money. Why would we have a demand for a good hybrid/electric car? High gas prices, as you pointed out… while not a comfortable way to do it – it is effective. Witness the death of the 25′ Caddy and the birth of the Datsun 210 in the 70s. Then you have your left-wing wackos (witness most members of this BLOG, a.k.a. K-PHO and Etrigan ;-) who are willing to pay more to ‘do the right thing’. More power to you. Right-wing wackos like Jank & I might do it to cut of oil money to the Middle East… but probably not – especially if it is more expensive (chime in Jank – I don’t mean to speak for you). If those aren’t enough, this is where I think it is good for government to get involved to some extent. Grants for research (a much more important portion of the State of the Union than the Nuc-u-lar weapons program statement, IMO), incentives for improving MPG, etc. They can help to create a demand somewhat artificially or excellerate it. I’ve seen $1.65 here in Austin.

Comment from KellyMc
Time August 28, 2003 at 1:00 pm

I guess the next question is: What incentive does the administration have to promote a decrease in the demand for oil?

Comment from Rick
Time August 28, 2003 at 1:36 pm

Keep money at home instead of sending it to the Middle East, Mexico, Venezuela, etc. Begin/lead an intellectual economy instead of natural resources-intensive one at home. If you can develop fuel cells in the US that everyone else wants to buy to replace combustion engines… Plus, believe it or not, Republicans don’t love pollution – we just want more of a balance between economic interests and environmental ones. :-)

Comment from jank
Time August 28, 2003 at 1:49 pm

Looks like about $1.60 at the two stations out my window here in Houston. Was about $1.70 yesterday in N’awlins (But that was across the street from the airport).

Missy and I actually looked for cars that got a minimum of 25-26 MPG the last time we were in the market. Most of that is because I’m what Rod Dreher at NRO would call a ‘Crunchy Conservative’. My motive is an old one – namely, ‘Waste not, want not’. Benjamin Franklin would be proud. We’re even considering trading my Subaru wagon for a VW Jetta wagon with the turbo-diesel that gets about 45 MPG. Although we’ll probably end up with a Passat or another Audi with the 1.9 liter turbo four-banger.

(W)hat would cause the market to produce a product that is costlier to develop and produce?

Consumer demand. Look at HDTV – the gov. spent the cash and developed the format a decade ago. But consumers are only now demanding it as content becomes available. Mostly driven by DVD, which AIR got absolutely no gov’t handouts at all.

I’ll bite and say that I think there are many things the various Uncles could do to spur interest in more efficient cars. Going to the manufacturers through the EPA is the most underhanded I can think of. More direct appeals to consumers could be made by, for instance, letting cars that got more than, say, 35 MPG ride in the HOV lanes with single drivers; or by tying registration fees or inspection fees to economy.

Comment from KellyMc
Time August 28, 2003 at 1:50 pm

OK, fair and balanced enough.

Now, what disincentives does the administration have to promote a decrease in the demand for oil?

– Bush family oil interests.

– Energy industry political support and contributions.

(and for all my homies on the left out there…)

– Less oil interest in the middle east = less military involvement in the middle east = less anti-american terrorism = less public fear over national security available as political currency.

Comment from jank
Time August 28, 2003 at 1:55 pm

That’s like asking what incentives former VP Gore had to promote demand for information technology – tons of campaign contributions from technology companies, and leads to a cushy job on Apple’s board, and I’m sure tons of cool toys.

I bet the bastard got a free 12″ PowerBook with the Superdrive.

Comment from cynsmith
Time August 28, 2003 at 2:10 pm

“Why would we have a demand for a good hybrid/electric car? ”

California regulations are a huge part of why manufacturers are marketing hybrid cars. Now, it just so happens that the cars are popular across the country (I think that the DC area is the best market for the Civic hybrid) but they did the R&D because it was/is required by law in CA. (Manufacturers just dropped the lawsuits they brought years ago when CA passed the law requiring that a percentage of vehicles sold in the state be electric or hybrid)

They are popular for all of the reasons listed here, but absent the California regulations, manufacturers might only now be doing the work needed to get them to market in two or three years or more. Ford has been promising a hybrid Escape for nearly three years now. It takes time for these things to come to fruition.

Another reason these vehicles are popular in the DC area, at least, are government incentives. You get a huge tax credit when you buy one, and you get to drive in the HOV lane at any time if you’re in a hybrid.

Comment from KellyMc
Time August 28, 2003 at 2:12 pm

True, and it was inspiring how he fought off the powerful pen-and-paper lobby with their vested interests in throttling the development of e-mail.

I’ve forgotten what we were talking about.

Comment from jank
Time August 28, 2003 at 2:16 pm

Beer, Kelly. Beer.

Comment from etrigan
Time August 28, 2003 at 8:56 pm

Yeah, I’m late jumping into this. It’s been a long day in College Station. ($1.69, btw)

reeder, dear, Bush didn’t mention any useful gov’t programs for fuel efficient cars in the STOTU.

He’ll be long out of office and he won’t have to worry about the air pollution as an issue. He’ll leave that for the next GOP candidate to ignore.

Comment from doc
Time August 29, 2003 at 11:48 am

$1.59 in Norman,OK if anyone is wondering.

I’d agree that there is a need to move toward greener products, but also think that after seeing the market go ga-ga over the hybrids (yes initially marketed due to regulation) there is no need to further regulate the need for them. I see a huge consumer base even if gas prices drop, because enough people want to do the evironment good.

Comment from jank
Time August 29, 2003 at 12:08 pm

initially marketed due to regulation

Uh, no. The California requirement was initially for all electric cars, and has been repealed. Hybrids were introduced mostly because they met consumer requests (Decent size and cruising range) and much cheaper manufacturing costs than pure electric cars.

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