Monday, October 9, 2006
Can we trust government to do anything right concerning big questions of land use and the environment? In a recent essay in the Tulane Environmental Law Journal, Tulane law professor Oliver Houck paints a damning picture of government at all levels in the decades leading up to, and the year since, the disaster of hurricane Katrina. The Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies, the state of Louisiana, and local governments are each taken to task for putting politics ahead of public service. The desires of oil companies, regional infighting, and petty corruption each helped doomed governmental plans. Such a gloomy assessment from a leading environmental liberal seems like an echo of public choice theory, usually associated with conservatives. What does this say about the future of proposed governmental solutions to big environmental problems?