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How a “Green Lizard” could save us Millions of Pounds on Air Pollution

February 21, 2018

The insurance aspects inherent in the market-based approach of the Draft Clean Air Act of 2018 could reduce millions of pounds of excess emissions

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My 2018 re-draft of the Clean Air Act removes 75% of the current Act and its attendant regulations while reducing more pollution, decreasing costs, and increasing personal and corporate freedom.  The new Act simply requires people to pay per pound of pollution—regardless if the pollution is routine or excess.
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Companies would essentially be free to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted.  No more waiting 18 months for a permit.  In fact, no more permit.  Companies would be accountable for results, not thousands of intermediate regulatory process steps.  Technologies exist now that could make this possible.  These technologies were not available in 1970 when the foundational programs of the Clean Air Act were laid.  And emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and remote sensing stand ready that, when unleashed by regulatory simplification, intimate unfathomed heights of environmental and economic performance.

Companies under this new system of course will want insurance to cover the bill for any unexpected excess emissions—just like they have insurance to cover the damage from other unexpected events. For example, if you accidentally released 1,000 pounds, your insurance company would pay the dollars per pound into the system.  I wrote about this in an earlier article and the economic and environmental incentives it creates.  No more threats of jail-time for routine emission events.  No more affirmative defenses.  No more arguments about whether an event was justified.  No more thousands of complicated regulatory requirements to navigate.  No more trying to permit the un-permittable.  No more 100-page consent decrees and litigation costs.  You emit . . . you pay.  Fair.  Simple.  Done.

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Gargantuan reductions in costs, pollution, and regulation await us under a new 21st century approach.  What will surprise most people is that I did not accomplish this by adding more complexity to the system.  I couldn’t have.  The mountains were too big.  The only way was to make it simpler.

—-“Simple can be harder than complex:  You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.  But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” 
— Steve Jobs

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Jed Anderson is a principal attorney with the AL Law Group–and a former attorney with Baker Botts and Vinson & Elkins and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law School where he taught the Clean Air Act.  In addition to his legal practice, Jed has become a national leader over the past 15 years and a hub for Clean Air Act reform efforts–writing articles, gathering people and ideas, speaking across the country, writing a book, helping to lead national efforts to transform the Act, and even himself re-writing the Act (for more information, see www.cleanairreform.org).

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