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Grist staff, Richard L. Revesz and Michael A. Livermore's Posts

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Cost-benefit analysis can help environmentalists battle offshore drilling

In the last few weeks, two major barriers to renewed offshore oil drilling have fallen. In a decision on the Exxon-Valdez oil spill case, the Roberts Court severely limited liability for big spills. Now, President Bush has abrogated the executive order stopping offshore oil drilling. The only thing standing between new oilrigs and the ocean floor is Congress. In a time of fiscal crisis, environmentalists will have to make a strong case against the economic wisdom of offshore oil drilling to ensure that Congress does not pay dearly for its continued opposition. The benefit of punitive damages Congress and the …

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Richard Revesz responds to Lisa Heinzerling, defending cost-benefit analysis

This post continues a dialogue with professor Lisa Heinzerling: see Revesz's initial post and Heinzerling's response. ----- Cost-benefit analysis, correctly applied to many environmental problems, will show that strong environmental regulation is often economically efficient. Although some environmentalists, including Lisa Heinzerling in a recent post, have expressed reservations about the use of cost-benefit analysis to evaluate environmental rules, rejecting cost-benefit analysis instead of seeking to reform it would be a major strategic error for the environmental movement. Heinzerling raises some legitimate concerns about cost-benefit analysis as it is currently practiced, but unfortunately she condemns cost-benefit analysis wholesale based on certain …

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The green community should mend, not work in vain to end, cost-benefit analysis

Failing the cost-benefit test The R. Gallagher coal-fired power plant in Indiana emits over 50,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per year. Sulfur dioxide is a major component of particulate matter -- a form of pollution known to cause adverse cardiovascular and respiratory health effects. Sulfur dioxide also mixes with other pollution in the atmosphere to form acid rain. As a result of these adverse health effects, the Office of Management and Budget estimates that each ton of sulfur dioxide released into the atmosphere imposes $7,300 in costs on the American public. This means that the R. Gallagher facility imposes over …

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