Environmental regulations & Land Management
Environmental Studies PHS100
Warner Pacific College
September 14, 2010
In this paper, I will discuss my view on environmental regulations. I will discuss what role I believe the U.S. Bureau of Land Management should play in the economic development of our society.
The Bureau of Land Management is directly responsible for the management of more Federal land than any other agency, approximately 245 million surface acres (Bureau of Land Management, 2010). As such the Bureau of Land Management has an opportunity to be productive and not reactive. There is no getting around the fact that there is a need for environmental regulations. If not for environmental regulations, corporate greed would almost certainly prevail over the safety of the nation. With that said, the BLM has the chance to be proactive. For instance, there are currently 188 application permits pending to develop solar energy (Bureau of Land Management, 2010). The BLM can temporarily relax the permitting process in an effort to spur not only economic development, but also development of renewable resources. It seems that too often only the big corporations that can afford money for lobbyist or the “tree huggers” can get any attention. (I guess the old adage is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.) It is time for Government to step up to the plate and do something for the common man. This can be best achieved by stepping aside and let the free market do what it does best, innovate.
My belief is that given a choice, the average person would prefer to get their energy from renewable resources. This is especially true if the prices are comparable. Big oil constantly lobbies to keep the strangle hold that they have on society. In 1990 General Motors introduced a zero emissions vehicle called the EV1. The EV1 was certified to be able to travel 140 miles on a single charge (Revenge of the EV1). This vehicle was so successful that it sent chills down the collective spines of the Auto industry and the Oil companies. So scared were they that in 1994 GM bought control of the NiMH batteries being used in the vehicle under the guise of going into production, and consequently shelved the batteries. With control of the patents, they are guaranteed that the particular technology used in those batteries cannot be used for at least the next thirty years. The current models of electric vehicles do not have anywhere near that range. This makes them inconvenient at best and downright unusable at worst. One might ask just how GM kept control of the EV1. The answer to that is simple. They never sold the EV1, they just leased it. By leasing the vehicle they maintained ownership. At the end of the lease period they simply collected all the cars and destroyed them. My suggestion is that they use the law of eminent domain to take control of the patents and let private enterprise make the vehicles. Let the free market decide.
The Bureau of Land Management can do something similar. They can set aside several hundred acres of land, free of charge to any entrepreneur that is willing to invest in planting a fast growing renewable crop such as bamboo. This would not only be environmentally friendly, it would also great jobs. This would not only spur economic growth, it would also cut down on pollution from overseas shipping. It would also have the added benefit of decreasing the trade gap.
In conclusion, I would say that while there is still a need for environmental regulations, there is never a need for environmental stagnation. That is, stagnation of the economy under the ruse of environmental protection. Big oil has had enough time to rule. It is time once again to give control back to the people. Who is regulating the regulators?
Websites (All websites accessed September 13, 2010)
Revenge of the EV1: http://www.ev1.org/
Bureau of Land Management: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy.html