Why have environmental laws
Reader comment on: Keith Hennessey on Oil Drilling Safety
in response to reader comment: What does "resisting a centralized regulation approach mean"
Submitted by ben (United States), Jun 17, 2010 13:40
Shouldn't a company be able to drill off of Martha's Vineyard? How is limiting drilling off the Vineyard any different from limiting it off the marshes of Louisiana? In either place, a spill could have a catastrophic effect on people's livelihoods. I also think you put far too much faith the ability of people to utilize the courts to get a compensation from a giant corporation. BP with its army of lawyers can tied thinks up for years, making court cases prohibitively expensive even for well funded class action cases.
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The Future of Capitalism replies:
Those BP lawyers are expensive to BP -- it's often cheaper for them just to settle. A major-league environmental disaster will probably have some victims who can afford good lawyers, too. I think it comes down like a lot of issues to property rights. Who owns that land off Martha's Vineyard? It's not even land, it's ocean, really. I think it's like the Israeli "settlements" issue -- it looks like a Arab-Israeli conflict issue but it's really mainly a property rights issue.
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