Wednesday, February 6, 2008
How should land use law balance environmental concerns with essential economic needs? I remember the argument, back in the 1970s, that we should replace much of our unreliable foreign sources of oil with good ol’ American coal. Today, we’d reject such a suggestion, in large part because coal is such a nasty generator of greenhouses gases. But what about American lands that offer new sources of oil and gas? And what if they are environmentally special? In many instances, plans to extract these fossil fuels pit the local and state governments (who stand to gain only a share of the benefits but all of the potentials harms) against the national desire for fuel. In my state of Florida, the state has fought efforts to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, where a spill could threaten Florida’s tourism. And on the Roan Plateau of western Colorado, the state government is trying to use land use law to prevent the Bush Administration’s Interior Department from issuing more gas leases –- leases that have suddenly become profitable with the spike in world fuel prices.
There should be no doubt that if places like the Roan Plateau (or Alaska’s North Slope) held reservoirs of fuel in amounts like those in the Persian Gulf, the benefits to the nation would outweigh most environmental concerns. But with relatively small benefits, it may still make sense to leave the risks to foreign nations, so long as we have the cash to pay for their resources.
This blog is an Amazon affiliate. Help support Land Use Prof Blog by making purchases through Amazon links on this site at no cost to you.
- Stephen Miller on New Arkansas law requires local governments to pay for a "takings" where certain "regulatory programs" reduce FMV by at least 20 percent
- Josh Galperin on New Arkansas law requires local governments to pay for a "takings" where certain "regulatory programs" reduce FMV by at least 20 percent
- Jesse Richardson on New Arkansas law requires local governments to pay for a "takings" where certain "regulatory programs" reduce FMV by at least 20 percent
- Jamie Baker Roskie on Uber Goes to the State House Seeking Preemption of Local Government Control
- Stephen R. Miller on Why are building inspectors so often on the take?
- Tekle on Percent-for-Art Ordinances
- Michael Gerrard on Climate Change and Land Use Law
- Touro Law hosts First Annual Conference of the Land Use & Sustainable Development Law Institute
- Abstracts for 6th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship due May 1
- Space and the City - Special edition of The Economist