Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oil Refinery v. Farms has a story about a controversial oil refinery proposed in South Dakota, and the attendant land-use issues.  The story reminds me of the issues raised in Heller's book on the Gridlock Economy.  The United States needs new refineries, but no one wants one built near them.  It is hard to strike the right balance between giving neighbors the opportunity to voice legitimate concerns and avoiding gridlock.

Ben Barros

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As I understand it, Heller's book concerns problems where there are "too many" ownership interests. Usually the neighbors have lots of rights and opportunities to "voice legitimate concerns" in public hearings. The local opposition problem (whether it be oil refineries, municipal waste disposals, or affordable housing)only fits Heller's anti-commons frame if the decision-makers somehow attribute "ownership interests" in the subject property to the unhappy neighbors.

Posted by: Tim Iglesias | Jul 17, 2008 7:57:16 AM

Tim, while Heller's book is nominally concerned with ownership issues, he discusses a number of gridlock issues that are caused by problems that are technically not realted to ownership. One example is airport runway expansion, which strongly resembles the refinery issue. Also, these issues raise interesting questions about what, exactly, ownership means.

Posted by: Ben Barros | Jul 17, 2008 10:47:44 AM

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