Friday, July 02, 2010

The market will regulate itself.

It seems to me we used to hear, from conservatives/Republicans, that the free market did not need pollution regulation, because the market can regulate itself. I guess now, to the extent that we hear anything about pollution, it is how climate change/global warming is a hoax, or that a cap and trade or carbon tax program will bankrupt the country or give our trade competitors an unfair advantage, yada yada.

But something occurred to me about the old argument that the free market could regulate itself vis a vis pollution. We now know that a de facto state of self regulation existed/perhaps still exists for oil and gas drilling on public lands in the US, including deep water drilling, from at least the turn of the century until now. The Minerals Management Service did little to enforce regulations for drilling, apparently in some cases allowing their own statements of their plans for regulations, and rubber stamping them.

So how did industry do in regulating itself? Never mind, too easy.

Apart for the Gulf of Mexico, this business of drilling in shale for natural gas, apparently it is also not regulated by the federal government, only by states. Obviously the MMS would not be a model to follow, but there are strong indications that drilling in shale carries risks (the movie "Gasland"). And Pittsburgh is in the middle of this Marcellus shale thingie. I don't know about you, but I would like to be able to drink water from the tap, and take showers and perhaps baths.

We actually seem to be going backwards on pollution regulation.

1 comment:

Gloria said...

I live in Lawrenceville (already over 60 drilling leases signed here) - I've been learning about Marcellus & also learning how little, in fact, PA cities & towns are able to legislate/restrict gas drilling. City council is stirred up about the issue, I suggest people also get stirred up. How many of us want to use our faucets to light our barbeque grills?