Category Archives: Environmental Policy

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!


Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on the Keystone Pipeline Project

President Obama’s decision to deny permit for the construction of the keystone pipeline has been challenged by some who think the project would create jobs for Americans. What do you think?

Drill Baby Drill?

Energy policy is the manner in which the governmental has decided to address issues of energy development, production, distribution and consumption. The attributes of energy policy includes legislation, international treaties, incentives to investment, and guidelines for energy conservation, and taxation.

With the rise in gas prices President Barack Obama current energy policy is to direct his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production by extending existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s coast. However, these moves will not impact the price of gasoline at the pump in the foreseeable future but may reduce dependence on the importation of oil in the long term. Not surprisingly, the oil industry is praising Obama’s decision. Yet, what happened to the concerns about possible dangers to the economy as well as the environment considering the aftermath of last year’s BP oil spill.

The Maddow Blog has a post concerning subsidies for major oil companies. However, if you were president or a member of congress, what energy policy would you formulate to decrease U.S. dependence on oil?


Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on the Gas Problem

As gas prices continue to rise, many wonder if there will be any relief soon; some think high gasoline prices are likely to impact Obama’s re-election bid. What do you think?

Congressional Oversight a Nuclear Necessity

The earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima nuclear power facilities in Japan may pose a more serious long-term threat than previously reported.  More importantly, there is talk that the Japanese government and the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog agency—the IAEA—may have allowed the operators of the facility to cut regulatory corners.  A recent Guardian article, citing intercepted government cables, makes the case that national and international regulatory agencies have been “covering up” accidents at nuclear facilities and the real costs associated with their operations.  The likelihood of such failings should resonate loudly with all those in the United States calling for less government regulation in basically all sectors of the U.S. economy.

In the U.S., Congress has the authority to regulate commerce and to conduct congressional oversight of federal agencies, programs, and officials, as a basic component of the American system of checks and balances.  Regulation of nuclear facilities in the U.S. by the Department of Energy and others in the executive branch can provide an important foundation for such protections.  However, if recent history teaches us anything, the need for more effective regulation by overlapping and even competing interests can provide additional protections that may help to avert future catastrophes.

Though less dramatic in many senses, recent abuses in the banking, real estate, and financial markets, and the role they played in the U.S. financial crisis should generate calls for more regulation—not less.  Congressional oversight is an essential element provided for by the Constitution, enabling government to perform perhaps its most basic function—protect the people of the United States from those dangers that are within our power to control; acts of God and Nature, notwithstanding.


MPSL VLog: Nuclear Energy Policy

In light of looming nuclear disaster in Japan, are there likely to be changes to U.S. energy policy?  Professor Gaffaney explains.