Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
This week San Diego’s non-profit blood bank announced that stricter pollution regulations will force seven of its eight bloodmobiles off the road. It says it needs to raise “an extra $1 million” to upgrade or replace what appear to be perfectly good vehicles.
Blogger Sylvia Cochrane has the fully story here. The new regulations are linked to a controversial body called the California Air Resources Board. Anthony Watts, who lives in California, has written about this body over at his superblog WattsUpWithThat.
The story is a great example of how good ideas like protecting the environment get taken to extremes by insulated-from-the-real-world bureaucrats.
California’s Air Resources Board has decided that highly hypothetical deaths from air pollution and global warming merit its attention. The problem is that California has no Sensible Solutions at Sensible Prices Board to act as a counterweight in these matters. The result: organizations such as the blood bank (which play a critical role in life-and-death situations every day of the year) end up being distracted from their core task. They’re forced to spend their scarce resources – time, attention, and money – to comply with government regulations that may or not actually benefit anyone.
When green policies get discussed at dinner parties, many people express a perfectly reasonable opinion: “Well, I just think we should do what’s good for the environment,” they say.
I’m sympathetic to this view. My husband and I installed dual-flush toilets years ago. We’ve been dependent on public transit for the bulk of our adult lives. Our clothes are always washed in cold water. We’re voluntarily enrolled in a program in which power to our home air conditioner gets reduced during periods in which the electrical grid is under duress.
The problem, though, is that for every green idea that truly makes sense from a cost-benefit perspective, there’s half a dozen really dumb ideas. When government-employed bureaucrats promote these dumb ideas communities lose their bloodmobiles.
h/t Tom Nelson