California spends $33 million to coddle 800 cormorants

The conventional wisdom has it that voters last week handed power to Republicans in both houses of Congress hoping that legislative unity might translate into measures to improve the economy.  I don’t really buy this analysis, but never mind.  Let’s say it’s right.  What specific measures would be a good idea other than what Obama has been doing with the various “stimulus” packages and income-redistribution schemes?

My bottom line: start by eliminating unnecessary regulations.  Yes, I realize that burdensome (crazy?) regulations exist at the federal, state, and local levels so that what the feds do by themselves will not be sufficient to deal with the problem.  I’m not saying it will be sufficient, only that it’s necessary and that, moreover, it will send a message to legislators at state and local levels that they need to get with the program.

To take an example recently in the news, bird protection laws written as long ago as 1918 (!) are forcing Bay Area officials to spend $33 million to get 800 cormorants to move away from a bridge span that need to be demolished.  A crucial section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been replaced by a new $6.4-billion span, rendering unnecessary the 78-year-old section, damaged 25 years ago in the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The span is also an eyesore and probably a public menace in light of its decrepit condition.  Environmentalists, of course, are on the side of the birds – which are not endangered, so that a couple of days of target practice by local hunters would by no means wipe out the species.  Those 800 birds could feed a lot of people relying on Bay Area homeless shelters for assistance.

I don’t know if these laws are federal, state, or local.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m only giving an egregious example.  There are many others.  So I suggest that next year, the new Congress start by giving high priority to eliminating unnecessary environmental regulations.  Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) currently runs the House Committee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation and may do so again come January.  His counterpart in the Senate will also be a Republican, so they should be able to work out a common approach to taking absurd environmental laws off the books.  Once done, the next step would be to issue marching orders to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Yes, there will be opposition from the usual suspects, some of it I’m sure quite vocal.  But then, what is the point of having solid congressional majorities and not using them?

The conventional wisdom has it that voters last week handed power to Republicans in both houses of Congress hoping that legislative unity might translate into measures to improve the economy.  I don’t really buy this analysis, but never mind.  Let’s say it’s right.  What specific measures would be a good idea other than what Obama has been doing with the various “stimulus” packages and income-redistribution schemes?

My bottom line: start by eliminating unnecessary regulations.  Yes, I realize that burdensome (crazy?) regulations exist at the federal, state, and local levels so that what the feds do by themselves will not be sufficient to deal with the problem.  I’m not saying it will be sufficient, only that it’s necessary and that, moreover, it will send a message to legislators at state and local levels that they need to get with the program.

To take an example recently in the news, bird protection laws written as long ago as 1918 (!) are forcing Bay Area officials to spend $33 million to get 800 cormorants to move away from a bridge span that need to be demolished.  A crucial section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been replaced by a new $6.4-billion span, rendering unnecessary the 78-year-old section, damaged 25 years ago in the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The span is also an eyesore and probably a public menace in light of its decrepit condition.  Environmentalists, of course, are on the side of the birds – which are not endangered, so that a couple of days of target practice by local hunters would by no means wipe out the species.  Those 800 birds could feed a lot of people relying on Bay Area homeless shelters for assistance.

I don’t know if these laws are federal, state, or local.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m only giving an egregious example.  There are many others.  So I suggest that next year, the new Congress start by giving high priority to eliminating unnecessary environmental regulations.  Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) currently runs the House Committee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation and may do so again come January.  His counterpart in the Senate will also be a Republican, so they should be able to work out a common approach to taking absurd environmental laws off the books.  Once done, the next step would be to issue marching orders to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Yes, there will be opposition from the usual suspects, some of it I’m sure quite vocal.  But then, what is the point of having solid congressional majorities and not using them?