Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Opposing Enbridge & Environmental Value

There is one easy way for the opponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline to get their way, put their money where their mouth is.

It only makes sense that if the Northern Gateway project is built, Enbridge the company responsible, should cover all social costs from the environmental damage; but in that same vein if it isn't built, opponents should cover the social costs from the foregone government revenue.

In the debate over the oil pipeline that could stretch from Alberta to British Columbia's coast, naysayers often suggest the costs outweigh the benefits; that the land is worth more than the revenue from the project. However they don't want to justify this claim because in the end the opponents actually value the environment less.

If the land is more valuable without a pipeline, then those protesters should think it's a bargain that to stop the project all they have to do is cough up the money the province would receive in tax revenue, taking away the proponents argument, and the pipeline could be scrapped, with no loss to provincial coffers.

Considering that the opposition has said the benefits are substantially less than the costs from the pipeline, paying the BC government for lost revenue to stop it should be the deal of the century. Unless of course opponents don't value the environment as much as they say they do.

But as the pipeline is projected to directly bring in $1.2 billion to the BC government (forgetting the billions in indirect benefits), activists could just find it too expensive or too hard to pool enough money together.

Maybe the opponents still see the narrow tract of land as valuable, just not as valuable to take out a loan or rack up debt on a credit card for, but that's fine, there's another option. To offset the lost revenue and to show that they still value the land more, the opposition could support increasing other taxes to make up the for the loss in government funds.

If opponents don't support that either, then it's not that they value the environment, it's quite the opposite, they want the environment for free. An attitude coincidentally shared by most polluters who also think the environment doesn't have a cost.

Some may oppose the Northern Gateway, but at least the pipeline is paying for its use of the environment; if opponents want to stop it, they should too.


Hayekian said...

I'll let you figure out how homophones work before I show you the errors in this argument.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Hayekian, I am far from perfect (as is your comment, because even if I made a mistake it would not derive from not knowing how homophones work, it would be from misusing one); I would be interested of course in knowing where the mistake is.

Hayekian said...

Fourth paragraph, first line.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Hayekian, thank you, I'll correct that momentarily. I hope it takes less coaxing for you to show the errors in the above argument.

Hayekian said...

No coaxing required, just time. I'm on a consulting rate now; time is money.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Hayekian, good thing then that you used your strongest criticism first.

Hayekian said...

In fact, that works! Simply provides an example of the amount of brainpower you put into the piece.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Hayekian, how disappointing, not only will you not help someone who you say is wrong, but that offer a highly erroneous response. Not only do scientists and journalists make grammatical errors but Hayek did as well.

Hayekian said...

Of course your right Scott, it is a total cheap shot and I think you're right more often than you're wrong. I promise I will explain in full detail as soon as I have time. I'm not some hot shot consultant who is busy all the time, but today is really bad. This is an emotional topic and there is a lot at stake. Best leave it at that for today.