Why Planes Don’t Fly Faster


How do we decide what environmental goals to fund?


If $10 million magically appeared and you got to decide how to allocate it between several environmental goals, how would you do it? Would you spend the money preserving open space? Cleaning up a watershed? Restoring habitat? Or a mix of these and other goals?

This thought experiment encourages you to consider tradeoffs. If funds are limited—as they always are—difficult choices between competing, laudable goals are inevitable. Who makes these choices and how can, in large part, dictate outcomes, for better or worse.

For instance, scholars have long observed that federal funding for endangered species has strongly favored charismatic megafauna, like wolves, bears, and other popular species. More obscure species—especially insects—don’t win this popularity contest. The federal government’s appetite to fund recovery efforts has always been limited, so allocating too much to one species necessarily reduces funds available for another that may need it more.

Last week, biologists working with…

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Prospecting for conservation: federal mining law encourages environmental conflict rather than free-market negotiation


After President Trump reduced the size of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument, environmentalists feared the lands would be opened up to environmentally destructive mining. However, in the first six months, only one claim had been staked, a protest claim by public lands activists.

The conflict over mining in the former lands of Bears Ears is just the latest high-profile example of a long-simmering conflict over U.S. mining regulation. It is governed by the Mining Law of 1872, which declares federal lands “free and open” to prospectors. Although environmental and federal land regulations have modified that wild-west approach over the subsequent century and a half, it remains largely possible for anyone to go out on many federal lands and stake a claim. (But actually mining and profiting from that claim is another story. . .)

Opponents of this approach have lodged protest claims in areas they wish to…

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The “Green New Deal” and Other Lefty Fantasies

American Elephants

Supposedly Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is quite popular among the new far-leftists in Congress. Democrats remain enamored of the memory of FDR. Some believe that he saved the nation from the Great Depression, (he didn’t). But anything with the term “New Deal” will be more popular on the Left. Young Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has a veritable wealth of ideas that are just plain wrong. She is not stupid, as so many claim. She just has a lot of very, very bad ideas. Money is not a problem – “We’ll just pay for it.” she says. Raise taxes as high as 82% on the wealthy? Fine. Her Green New Deal would cost 8,000 times as much as President Trump’s Border Wall request, according to Tyler O”Neil at PJ Media.

The “Green New Deal” will cost approximately $49,109 trillion in the first ten years, enough to fund Trump’s border wall 8,616 times…

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