chapter  2
22 Pages

An Institutional Framework for Analyzing Confl icts between Green Goals and Green Regulations

Our purpose in this book is to evaluate the political, legal, and regulatory environment facing large-scale alternative energy development in the United States. In particular, we focus on the political, legal, and regulatory environment for solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels and small to micro hydro energy development. There are many evaluations of the economics of alternative energy and we do not attempt to add to or evaluate those claims (see, for example, Fogarty, Tom & Robert Lamb, 2012). Economic claims aside, there are real barriers to entry for developing alternative energy. The most prominent of these barriers are the existing environmental laws and regulations. After extensive review of current environmental policies, including those promoting alternative energy development, we argue that in sum, environmental laws and regulations hamper the development of clean energy. In addition, the micro-goal of protecting individual areas, species, small-scale ecosystems and other local environmental aims often limits the ability to achieve macro-goals like preventing global climate change or transitioning to large-scale alternative energy production. Statutes and regulations designed to protect environmental and cultural integrity from degradation directly confl ict with other stated environmental ends.