Underregulation, Overrregulation

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill certainly has taken on a media life of its own. It is “the worst ecological disaster in American history” according to some reports. Yet there has not been any real analysis, only selective pictures of oil floating on the water and invading marshes. Nobody knows what the real damage is going to be.


This is not to minimize the damage in any way. But then again this is the same media that endlessly promoted Al Gore’s ‘global warming’ hoax by portraying it as the end of the world when in fact it was nothing of the sort.


President Obama has even gotten something of a media pass on the oil spill, while George W. Bush would have been savaged every minute of every day. Meanwhile the government’s own Minerals Management Service allowed the well to be drilled despite inadequate safeguards.


Isn’t the government supposed to be protecting us? And what is the upshot of all this?


It could be explained by a cell-phone pole in upstate New York, near Albany.




Well, consider that the Nextel cell-phone pole is just 115 feet tall,  is five feet in diameter, and rises above the surrounding trees about 30 feet. The total marked installation site is just one-quarter acre.


Doesn’t sound too threatening, does it, like an oil spill of millions of gallons?


Yet the pole was required by a local board to have an environmental impact statement that is 5 inches thick. Yes, for one cell-phone pole. And surely the statement cost more than the pole itself. And this type of eco-overkill is happening every day all over America.


What does this have to do with an oil well in 5,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico?


Everything. Because both endeavors have been regulated by the government, one highly underregulated (the Gulf well) and the other completely overregulated (the cell phone pole). Which means that enviro regulation in America is out of control and often moves to extremes.


Where is the rational center where we should be making policy?


It does not exist. Because government regulation is subject to the whims of politicians, bureaucrats, government inspectors and emotional environmentalists, who often have an agenda of their own, sometimes a vindictive one (force a wealthy communications company to do an expensive analysis for a cell-phone pole), sometimes a self-serving one (accept bribes from an oil company to approve a dangerous well).


The oil industry is the most regulated in America. Oil companies have no power to drill anywhere without approval by government. And when they drill, everything they do is tightly controlled. And for 50 years, enviro regs have been further and further restricting domestic oil production.


Wilderness expansion has pushed drilling off dry land. Oil shale, which is located in the desert of northwestern Colorado, is off limits. Enviro restrictions have pushed drilling out from the shallow ocean. Now, when drilling takes place in the dangerous and unpredictable environment of the mile-deep ocean, MMS regulators are said to have looked the other way through corruption, bribes and the like.


Meanwhile, when a town board in sleepy Chatham, New York voted that a simple cell-phone pole required further review, an environmental impact statement (EIS) was mandated that was far, far beyond what was needed. This statement is ridiculous and unnecessary, and adds substantially to the cost of phone service, as do all overly restrictive enviro regs. Because the cost of the EIS is simply added on to phone bills as a price of doing business.


So on the one hand, the environmentalists and regulators are flexing their muscle, and on the other hand, they are going out for drinks and sex with oil company employees. Neither extreme is acceptable. Oil drilling in deep ocean water should be closely watched because of the high risk, while a cell-phone pole should never require so much scrutiny, because there is little risk.


In other words, we need a little perspective.


If America is to progress as a nation, we need to get the enviro movement under control. From local conservation boards nitpicking every fence post and drainage ditch on a work site; to the wholesale shutdown of oil production on Western lands or in Alaska; to bribes to overlook dangerous conditions; to outright lies about so-called ‘global warming’, enviros have interfered irrationally with the free market, leading to problems of every imaginable type, from economic to environmental.


The entire Gulf oil spill is only being seen from one perspective – how much damage it is doing to the wildlife and to the livelihoods of people in Louisiana, which is sensible. But here are some other questions that are being ignored:


*Why is there such a scattershot approach of enviro regulation, with overregulation here and underregulation there? Isn’t this a dereliction of the regulatory duty?


*Why hasn’t the government clamped down on its corrupt bureaucrats and inspectors who are accepting bribes and favors to overlook big risks? Remember that corrupt inspectors now are being suspected in the West Virginia mine disaster that killed 29.


*Why isn’t there more news about the millions of people who have been forced out of jobs by overregulating environmentalism all over rural America, and by the defeat of economic development projects by powerful eco-organizations?


*Why are the media not exposing the massive economic damage being done by ethanol production, which enviros are offering us an alternative to oil? Because ethanol  production is affecting every single American through higher food prices.


No, the oil spill is being seen only through the prism that the media want it to be seen through and geared toward blame, blame, blame of the oil companies, while the same media say that only ‘green’ policies will save us.


This is all nonsense.


And Obama? Oh, right. It is all beyond his control. He is doing everything he can.


Hogwash. He has been dishonest himself. After all, he took huge campaign contributions from BP. Of course he is going to play softball.


The energy debate has many facets and the media are ignoring many of them, and slanting the others to fit the radical enviro agenda. And until the media and the enviro movement stop interfering in energy production and offering us bogus alternatives, and instead offer us sensible regulation, we should never say that a real discussion is going on about energy in the United States.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.