June 12, 2012

This week on Ecotopia will be addressing two environmental topics.  In the first half hour, we’ll talk with Harvey Wasserman, who is an anti-nuclear power activist, about his research into world wide reaction to the Fukushima-Daichii disaster a year ago.  It seems that a number of nuclear power programs are now on hold or even being abandoned as the world recognizes the catastrophic consequences of unsafe nuclear plants.

Then in the second part of the show, we will talk with Case Western University law professor Jonathan Adler.  He has some interesting ideas about how we might be able to use property rights–the right to protect our own property–as a way of taking on larger issues of environmental degradation.|

Our Questions for Harvey Wasserman

Our guest in this segment, Harvey Wasserman, is a world renown expert on utility deregulation, atomic power and  renewable alternatives. He is Editor of www.nukefree.org website and his frequent commentaries are widely circulated on the internet.    We spoke with Harvey about a year ago following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.  He has recently written two articles  about how reactions to Fukishima have slowed the development of nuclear power worldwide.  Welcome, Harvey.

–Your most recent article carries the title, “Hot Sushi.”  Please tell us what has happened.  [Cesium 137 in tuna off the coast of California, NPR reassurance that it is safe to eat.]

–You have also researched and documented a number of slowdowns and protests around the globe.  Please tell us what is happening in:

… Japan [total shutdown of nuclear plants, note that GE and Westinghouse are Japanese owned]
…China [30 reactors on hold]
…India [hunger strikes outside Koodankulam nuclear facility]
…France [election of François Hollande reduces pro-nuke pressure]
…Germany [focus on green energy policy]

–When we spoke a year ago, you were concerned about the U.S. plans to provide $37 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear industry.  Please tell us about that and other roadblocks to the nuclear industry.  What is happening in:
… Georgia [Vogtle loan $8.33 billion on hold]
… California [San Onofre shutdowns]
… Nebraska [flooded Calhoun]
… Vermont, New York, Ohio, Texas.  [pressure to forever close Vermont Yankee, New York’s Indian Point, Ohio’s Davis-Besse, South Texas and more continues to escalate]

–Where do things stand with the Yucca Mountain project for nuclear waste storage?  If Yucca is delayed or canceled, wouldn’t this also slow down nuclear power development?

–What can our listeners do to be more involved and to register their concerns?  [Sign the petition, visit www.nukefree.org]

Our Questions for Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he teaches several environmental law courses. He is currently a contributing editor to National Review Online and regular contributor to the legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy. We were intrigued by a blog he recently posted on atlantic.com entitled “How Property Rights Could Help Save the Environment.”  Welcome Professor Adler.

–You begin your essay on atlantic.com by referring to something called “the tragedy of the commons.”  What is that concept, and how does that relate to your idea of “approaching environmental problems from a property rights perspective”?  How can “the creative extension of property rights to ecological resources … help address many environmental problems”?

–You discuss the fishing industry as an example, writing that  “Fisheries are in trouble the world over, but property-based management regimes are a demonstrated way to prevent overfishing and fishery collapse.”  Please explain.

–You also discuss the Endangered Species Act as a complex example of how property rights and the environment could work toward a common goal, but you also note that the ESA, “in effect, punishes private landowners for having maintained their land in a way that is beneficial for listed species.” Could you tell us a little more about this, especially from a legal perspective?

–Susan take this one > Monsanto/Morton. You argue that “In principle, a commitment to property rights should entail a commitment to protecting people and their property from unprivileged or unconsented to invasions.”  You also note, “In practice, however, this can be difficult to do.”

[On this program, we have frequently discussed the problem of pollen from genetically modified plants (particularly corn and beets) drifting onto an organic farmer’s or seedgrower’s land and polluting the crops.  Yet the organic farmer is held liable for patent infringement. How might this be addressed from a property rights perspective?]

–Are there test cases concerning the environment and property rights that are going on presently?  Could you give us an example or two?

–What kinds of cases would you like to see introduced in the future to put the theory into action?  What is the longer range potential of this approach to be systematically a part of environmental actions and protection? [“Though I believe in property-based solutions to many (if not most) environmental problems, the viability of such approaches should not be oversold….The question is not which approach is perfect, but which approach is better (or not as bad) as the others.”]

–Where can our listeners learn more about this approach and even become involved in the movement?   [http://home.earthlink.net/~jhadler/ ]


1. Nuclear Infected (Album Version)     2:16    Alice Cooper    Flush The Fashion       Rock            5       7/19/11 7:54 AM
2. Nuclear      3:25    Ryan Adams      Demolition      Rock
3. The Rape Of The World        7:08    Tracy Chapman   New Beginning   Folk            5       12/12/11 8:41 AM
4. Lake Funt Property   3:54    Sukpatch        Honky-Tonk Operation E.P.       Rock
5. Weave Me the Sunshine        4:28    Peter, Paul And Mary    The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary   Folk            99      5/22/12 8:05 AM
6. The Invention of Nuclear Power       2:46    Peter Adams     The Spiral Eyes Rock            7       7/19/11 7:53 AM
7. This Land Is Your Land       2:27    Peter, Paul And Mary    The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary   Folk            22      5/9/11 1:47 PM