By Dr. Roy Cordato
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Weekly John Locke Foundation
research division newsletter focusing on environmental issues.
The newsletter highlights relevant
analysis done by the JLF and other think tanks as well as items in the news.
1. New study out of
the UK shows little risk of water contamination from natural gas drilling
technique known as "fracking"
A new study published by the UK's Department of Energy and
Climate Change concludes that "'the likelihood of contamination of
drinking water in aquifers due to fractures when there is a separation of more
than a kilometer is negligible' because there is no path for fracking water to
reach ground water..." This is according to a news report in the Wall Street Journal and reprinted here.
The study examined eight different hydraulic fracturing operations in Europe,
the US, and Africa. Optimal geological conditions occur at a depth of 2 to 3
kilometers below ground water aquifers, much deeper than what the study
considers to be a safe depth. This study has particular relevance for North
Carolina because of possible natural gas deposits that can be accessed using
the hydraulic fracturing technique and that are thought to exist in Lee and
Moore Counties. At the present time, use of the technique is not allowed in North
Carolina, but the General Assembly will be considering lifting the ban and
creating a regulatory regime under which exploration and drilling can proceed.
2. Catch shares could
help protect NC fisheries -- fighting the tragedy of the commons
It is a well-known proposition that ocean fishing suffers
from what economists call a "tragedy of the commons." This is the
idea that when there are not specific property rights to a resource, in this
case fish in the ocean, the resource will be over-consumed. The problem that
this creates with ocean fishing is that there is a "race to fish."
Any given fisherman will try to catch as many fish as he can as fast as he can
because he knows that, if he doesn't take the fish, another fisherman will.
My colleague, JLF's Director of Regulatory Studies Jon
Sanders, takes a look at a program that is being implemented in fisheries
around the United States called "catch shares." The idea is to try to
solve the commons problem by establishing property rights to fish. This is done
by establishing a total allowable catch in a fishery and then distributing guaranteed
rights to a portion of that total to individual fishermen. This creates an
incentive to space out one's catch over time and to take only fish that are the
most profitable. Part of this program would include permit trading, which would
imply that fishermen who may not be able to use their entire allotment could
sell what they are not able to use to others who would bid for the "shares."
This would establish a market for the shares themselves with prices established
by supply and demand. According to Sanders, "Catch shares' potential to halt and maybe even reverse this
collapse of fisheries would have resounding economic effects."
The study can be
Sanders's videoed comments on the issue provide a good summary of the arguments
and can be viewed here.
3. Ozone Report
The 2012 ozone season began on April 1 and each week during
the ozone season this newsletter will report how many, if any, high ozone days
had been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they
were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to
date. The ozone season will end on October 31. All reported data is from the
North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state's Department
of Environment and Natural Resources. During the period April 23rd to April
29th there were no reported high ozone readings on any of the state's monitors
and there have been none thus far this season.
Click here for the Environmental
Thursday, May. 3rd, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
A Panel Discussion on North Carolina's Marriage Amendment
with our special guests Dr. Michael Munger, Chair, Department of Political Science, Duke UniversityKatharine Parker, Legal Director, ACLU of North CarolinaTammy Fitzgerald, Executive Director, NC Values CoalitionKen Klukowski, Director, Center for Religious Liberty,
North Carolina's Proposed Marriage Amendment
Monday, May. 7th, 2012 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Warren Bingham
George Washington's Southern Tour of 1791
Tuesday, May. 15th, 2012 at Midnight
2012 Spirit of Inquiry Award
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