Thursday, April 16, 2009


Sometimes it really does seem that the environmental movement—which has done some substantial good for our country—gets too carried away and really does want to activate what the acronym means “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.”

Here’s the latest from Pacific Research.

An excerpt.

“Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) is closing down an El Dorado county sawmill that has been around since 1889. SPI will also close another sawmill and electric power plant in Tuolome county. Two more SPI mills in Plumas and Humbolt counties will also close, leaving hundreds of workers without jobs.

One reason for the closings is the drop in new-home construction. Anti-growth activists will be happy about the shutdowns, part of their stance known as BANANA – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.

Drexel University, for example, wants to build a campus on donated land near Roseville already approved for development. The Sierra Club opposes the new campus, which they fear will lead to other growth, such as homes. This anti-growth stance, however, will hinder rather than help the environment.

“California environmentalists are tireless in their efforts to stop new development, but for the good of the planet, maybe they should lighten up,” explains Edward Glaeser, professor of economics and director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University, in the March 4 Los Angeles Times.

“Stopping new development may seem green, but it isn't,” professor Glaeser wrote. “When new homes aren't built in California, they are built in other places that are far less environmentally friendly.”

California’s weather is better than other regions of the country, which require more energy for heating and cooling. Professor Glaeser also explains that California has plenty of land and “there is plenty of room to build.” Santa Clara county, for example, home of Silicon Valley, has a population density of about 2.2 people per acre. The state’s water problems, he adds, are not an argument against growth but for conservation, efficiency, and new technologies.

“California's growth has slowed because the state has made it increasingly difficult to build new homes,” professor Glaeser writes. “There is an almost perfect correlation between the growth of an area and the amount of housing that is permitted in that area. California has some of the toughest land-use regulations in the country, which are often justified as environmental measures. When high housing demand is met with restrictions – not construction – California homes become unaffordable and new construction goes somewhere else.”