Regulation & The Public Interest

Stress Fractures
City Journal
Reviewing Timothy Geithner’s Stress Test and Alan Greenspan’s The Map and the Territory. The authors’ respective accounts of modern financial crises reflect no shortage of disagreements, but Geithner and Greenspan agree on one fundamental set of values: markets are imperfect, Congress is counterproductive, and voters are largely irrelevant. I discussed the article in a City Journal podcast with the Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas, available in mp3 format here.


Energy reforms to cut utility bills and enable growth and innovation [pdf]
The YG Network’s “Room to Grow” Report
The YG Network invited me to contribute a chapter to its book on pro-middle-class policies. Specifically, the editors asked me to write on energy policy, so I wrote about the natural gas revolution, highlighting its benefits but also cautioning conservatives to take seriously concerns that local communities raise regarding property rights and local environmental impacts. The report was later featured in the New York Times, among other publications. Several liberal critics accused me of ignoring the climate change issue; I responded here.


Congress and the Administrative State [pdf]
Heritage Foundation
At an event marking the release of the 2014 edition of Heritage’s Red Tape Rising report, I was asked to speak on the relationship between Congress and the administrative state. My paper is available here [pdf]; a video of the event is available here.


The Signal and the Silence
City Journal
Reviewing Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise and Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile. Both of these books have captured an aspect of the zeitgeist, but they largely point in opposite directions. Silver shows us how we can improve our predictions, but Taleb warns us once again to be modest in our attempt to predict (or to ignore) the uncertain future, and to arrange our lives accordingly.


Obama’s Regulatory Rampageregulation-cover

The Weekly Standard
President Obama’s second term will be dominated by regulatory action, and there is only so much that Congress and the courts can do to slow him down.


Yucca Mountain: A Post-Mortem [pdf]
The New Atlantis
Reviewing the political and bureaucratic saga that created and, eventually, doomed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

— New Hampshire Public Radio’s Virginia Prescott later interviewed me about Yucca Mountain on the “Word of Mouth” show.


Infrastructure Policy: Lessons from American History [pdf]
The New Atlantis
The same questions raised by national infrastructure plans today have bedeviled us since before the Nation’s founding.  In fact, they led to the very founding of the U.S. Constitution.  Strong infrastructure can bind the Nation together; then again, as Thoreau warned, “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us.”

— The American Enterprise Institute later invited me to sit-down for a half-hour “podcast” interview about the article.


Obama’s Cynical Energy Policy [pdf]
National Affairs
A common thread ties together many parts of the Obama Administration’s energy policy.  The Keystone XL pipeline, the offshore drilling “permitorium,” the shutdown of Yucca Mountain, and the auto “deal” all demonstrate the Administration’s willingness to cynically distort the regulatory process.


Reining in the Agencies [pdf]
National Affairs
Federal regulatory agencies generally fall into one of two categories: “executive” agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, which are wholly subject to presidential control; and “independent” agencies, such as the National Labor Relations Board or Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which are led by officials who cannot be removed willy-nilly by the President. President Obama has been particularly adept at achieving some of his most controversial aims through those “independent” agencies, while using the agencies’ “independence” as a shield against criticism.  But the actual effect of agency “independence” is exaggerated; the President is responsible for their actions.

— The Liberty Fund’s Richard Reinsch later interviewed me for the “Liberty Law Talk” podcast series.


Thinking About the “Practically Unthinkable” [pdf] [html]
Engage — The Federalist Society’s E-Journal
On energy infrastructure, and guarding against low-probability, high-impact events.


Powering Down
The Weekly Standard
The Obama Administration’s decision to indefinitely delay its review of the already-thoroughly-vetted Keystone XL pipeline, and the latest episode in the interminable Cape Wind saga, are just the latest indicators of our broken regulatory framework for energy development and innovation.


No Energy in the Executive
The Weekly Standard
On Republican congressional efforts to force the Obama Administration to take faster action on offshore drillers’ applications for federal permits.


Bridges and the Bottom Line [pdf]
The New Atlantis
Reviewing Barry LePatner’s Too Big To Fail, on the collapse of Minneapolis’s I-35W Bridge, and the need for national infrastructure reform.


Green Power, Red Lights 
The Weekly Standard
On environmentalists’ opposition to clean power projects.


A “Third Way,” or a Bridge to Nowhere?
The New Atlantis (online)
Analyzing the FCC’s net neutrality strategy, in light of the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Comcast v. FCC.


Power Runs Through the States [pdf]
The Legal Times
President-elect Obama’s plan for cleaner energy infrastructure will require thoughtful regulatory reform.


Report of the EBA Judicial Review Committee, 2009-10 [pdf]
Energy Law Journal
A review of the last two years’ major court cases. Co-edited with John Shepherd.