March 1, 2013

Why no Environmental Impact Statement on "immigration reform?"

The federal government has just released a 2,000 page environmental impact statement on the proposed Keystone pipeline from Canada to the U.S. I haven't quite gotten around to reading it yet, but that reminds me of something: Why shouldn't there be a required environmental impact statement on proposed amnesty and guest workers plans? How can the politicians blithely make changes that will have vast environmental consequences without first submitting an environmental impact statement?

Back in 2010, I estimated the impact of immigration on American and global carbon emissions. After all, pretty much the whole point of moving to America is to live larger and emit more carbon. I came up with immigration to the U.S. from 2005 to 2050 adding about 6% to global carbon emissions, which is a gigantic number.

Perhaps somebody else would come up with a different number, but, that's kind of the point: nobody is looking at this question.

You say that environmental impact statements have no place in immigration policy? Au contraire -- the need to dot ever i on EISs has held up border fence constructions projects for years. Time to apply the same logic to amnesty and guest workers.

48 comments:

Mark Mallarde said...

Screw the rest of the world! I want to know how we are adversely affected environmentally within the United States. How many miles of extra roads do we need to build? How many schools do we need to build? How much more water do we need to drink and divert from agriculture?

x said...

this is a question i ask all the time as well. repeat it over and over again because it is a slam dunk against immigrationists, who usually possess beliefs which coincide with environmentalism.

here in australia we recently passed a carbon tax, which is a direct tax on emitting co2 and other greenhouse gasses. one of the big arguments agianst it, always dismissed by environmentalists as the "small numbers fallacy" is that australia just is too small to make an iota of a difference to global carbon emissions and global warming. whenever i bring up the immigration/population question and relate it to c02/carbon, the same environmentalists who dismiss the "small numbers" fallacy of carbon tax opponents resort to the same fallacy. it's some hilarious stuff.

Anonymous said...

http://siskelandebert.org/video/UNGYR5WDH2U8/Sneak-Previews--The-Best-Films-of-1978-1979

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/jonathan-rosenbaum-at-70-a-tri.html

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and your more extensive Vdare piece is eye opening. Unfortunatley it is probably too late to use for the latest go round. We all know those bastards are about to agree to amnesty. And as we have seen, anytime the elites say an issue is important, there is no time for further debate. It must be passed ASAP, or the world will fall apart. See TARP and Obamacare for examples.

Man if information like this would have been discussed years ago, we might have been able to trump the open borders guys. Unfortunately thanks to David Gelbaum and the Sierra Club this crucial aspect of immigration hasn't really seen the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Just stating the obvious Steve.
If post-1965 immigration had never happened, the US population would have stabilized by now, and stabilized at 100 million or so lower.
Perhaps not uncoincidentally, American living standards have stagnated since 1965, so all that immigration can hardly be justified by economics.
Who would seriously argue that the California of 2013 is a better place than the California of 1963?, where is the upside?, but the downside is obvious enough.
As always it comes down to the primacy of quality over quantity.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/03/01/black-incarceration-rates-plummet/

Anonymous said...

http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/american-student-punished-for-refusing-to-recite-mexican-pledge.html

Orthodox said...

I want to know how we are adversely affected environmentally within the United States.

This is included in environmental impact statement.

From the wiki: An environmental impact statement (EIS), under United States environmental law, is a document required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for certain actions "significantly affecting the quality of the human environment"

Included are: Social and Economic impacts to local communities

How hard would it be for the GOP to push for this?

astorian said...

Environmental impact is an interesting consideration, one that SHOULD eat at the type of liberal who's normally all for letting in unlimited numbers of immigrants.

It also strikes me that the United Farm Workers are the strangest "labor union" in history. Can anyone think of any other "labor union" that ever insisted on bringing millions of foreign scabs into the job market?

Henry Canaday said...

I believe the EIS requirement is only imposed on regulators or other non-legislative government officials when they take actions, not on laws and lawmakers. If the latter were true, it would likely shut down new lawmaking and law amending altogether.

Anonymous said...

An interesting article from Bloomberg listing multiple peak resources.

This is an area where I think the free market economists trump all the other researchers. There is just too much data to keep track of when it comes to every resource on earth. Price is really the only reliable gauge. That is why it is so important that no resource be be overly taxed or subsidized, corrupting the value of the data. Price is the best way of knowing what quantities of resources are available and price escalations give warning that shortages are looming.

If we really want to know the value of American citizenship we should jettison amnesty and current immigration policies, instead determine how many immigrants we want (or that we are willing to put up with) and put those spots up for auction.

Anonymous said...

The enviro movement (not just the Sierra Club) has completely sold out to immigrationism as a subset of hegemonic neo-marxism/cultural marxism so they won't make this argument. Today's GOP is committed to anti-environmentalist hypercapitalism so they won't make the argument either. In fact, everyone of any significance whatsoever in the GOP
seems to believe that the whole concept of overpopulation is a myth.

There are ways to escape from this pernicious two-party trap but no one seems interested in doing anything about it.

Luke Lea said...

Let's not build our house upon the sand: catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (cagw) is not a real issue because (a), it won't be catastrophic probably; (b), it will probably be good for the world in terms of total carrying capacity; and (c), there is little we can do about it in any case even if we spend ourselves into penury trying.

No, better to support an across-the-board immigration moratorium on economic and cultural: grounds: until we can find work for the tens of millions of unemployed Americans we already have; and to give us time to integrate and assimilate the tens of millions of foreign-born people who are already living here, the overwhelming majority of whom grew up in societies with no democratic traditions and no concept of the liberal idea. In other words to protect the welfare and preserve the liberties of this and future generations. Those are winning arguments that won't go away. All that is required is to force the debate. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

rightsaidfred said...

VDH makes a similar point: in his travels throughout central Cal., he sees the happily homogeneous population there freely polluting and degrading the environment while following no building codes. Meanwhile, the coastal elites have their microscopes out when examining changing coastal fauna, and demand massive changes to succor such.

I guess we'll see who wins this battle.

Anonymous said...

Well, 1965 was not great in Calif either too much smog and a lot more white trash from the south that live in mobile homes.. By the 1970's Calif was great if it continue like it was in the 1970's and 1980's except for La it would be great today. In 1965 poverty for whties was about 15 percent and by 1972 it was down to 8 percent.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points, Steve.

There's no reason whatsoever that a NumbersUSA-type organization couldn't sue to have an environmental impact study performed and published.

cipher

Anonymous Rice grad #6 said...

American living standards have stagnated since 1965

I agree with everything else in this thread, but this just flat out isn't true. Perhaps on some inflation-adjusted income basis, you might be able to shoehorn the stats on this. But in everything from far, far better and safer cars to consumer product choices to cheap air travel to medical care (albeit expensive, but people obtain it with relative ease), living standards are much, much higher than in 1965.

Maybe the impact is in mostly superficial ways (acquisition of gadgets, silly entertainment, etc.), and maybe it's the result of the debt binge, and isn't sustainable, but for the time being that's the case.

Anonymous said...

The analysts' estimates suggest that some 47 million people in the U.S., or 1 in 6, were poor last year. An increase of one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent would tie the 1983 rate, the highest since 1965. The highest level on record was 22.4 percent in 1959, when the government began calculating poverty figures. This is the conservative agrument less adults with kids in low paying jobs mean less pvoerty and less welfare. Norquist and company are creating the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the impact is in mostly superficial ways (acquisition of gadgets, silly entertainment, etc.), and maybe it's the result of the debt binge, and isn't sustainable, but for the time being that's the case.

I'm not dismissing the argument you have made about standards of living, but if the evidence better living is "mostly superficial ways" (to an extent, better cars and cheaper airfare could even be considered such), then it's probably not very good support for your claim that people live better today than they did in 1965.

Rob said...

What's more, immigration to the US increases global emissions via remittances - $120bn will buy a lot of carbon.

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA44IB4jCjw

Manufacturing industry dead?

Anonymous said...

But in everything from far, far better and safer cars to consumer product choices to cheap air travel to medical care (albeit expensive, but people obtain it with relative ease), living standards are much, much higher than in 1965

Everything? How much does it cost to buy a house today?

Of course tech advances have made things cheaper, and this has nothing to do with immigration.

As Steve says, all other things being equal, has immigration increased or decreased the US standard of living?

And what is the opportunity cost of waiting in traffic to commute from work to your house in exurban spawlville?

Average Joe said...

Don't you understand that it is only evil white people who have a negative impact on the environment?

elvisd said...

Here's a link from his site to an article from Dave Foreman's website about Hillary Clinton's attempt to censor the Australian Crocodile guy's 14 year old daughter from speaking out on overpopulation. Hillary apparantly didn't like her "uninvited people coming to the party" analogy.

Cail Corishev said...

How hard would it be for the GOP to push for this?

Easy as pie, if they wanted to. But for that to be true, they'd have to want to restrict immigration -- not just tweak it a bit to try to bring in the kinds of workers their biggest donors are clamoring for, but really cut back on the numbers.

It seems clear they have no desire to do that -- not just because they're afraid of being called racists, but because they really do think cheap labor is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Jews should hand out 'best friend of Jews' awards each year.

Among the categories: 'best friend of Jews who once an evil anti-Semite but since has been rehabilitated'.
Winner: Chuck Hagel.

Anonymous said...

There is a great deal to be said for having a smaller population. Countries like Japan, England, the Netherlands, etc, are very densely populated. Roads are terribly congested and real estate prices are very high. The pressure on the local ecology is very intense. All of these countries, in my view, would be better off if they had a quarter, or even a third, less people. Immigration exacerbates all the problems these countries face (although Japan at least, seems to understand this). As for the USA it would have had a stabilized population at about 220 million today had there been no significant immigration. California in particular has been altered and degraded perhaps the most. Its population today would have been about half as large and twice as white as it now is without the post 1965 flood. Watch old TV shows from the 1960's and 70s' (The Rockford files, Starsky and Hutch) to see what has been lost.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nationalmemo.com/thanks-to-the-gop-opposing-chuck-hagel-america-now-knows-ted-cruz/

We now know AIPAC has another gentile whore.

Anonymous said...

"But in everything from far, far better and safer cars to consumer product choices to cheap air travel to medical care (albeit expensive, but people obtain it with relative ease), living standards are much, much higher than in 1965.

Maybe the impact is in mostly superficial ways (acquisition of gadgets, silly entertainment, etc.), and maybe it's the result of the debt binge, and isn't sustainable, but for the time being that's the case." - Don't discount the skyrocketing cost of living since then. even if our wages are comparable, and they can buy more stuff, neighborhoods, health care, and other amenities are much more expensive. Also mass immigration had nothing to do with what did improve. Ultimately, the cost of Chalupas has to go up due to scarcity of various commodities such as water(though in Europe they are holding down the cost with horse meat).

Anonymous Rice grad #6 said...

Everything? How much does it cost to buy a house today?

I was not saying literally 'everything' is cheaper, better, etc. You remind me of the lawyers I have to deal with at work. Still, if the increase in the average size of a house vs. 50-60 years ago is as much as I've read, in real terms I'm not even sure your point is as valid as you think on a per square foot basis.

As Steve says, all other things being equal, has immigration increased or decreased the US standard of living?

If you are directing this at my original comment, I was only responding to the assertion that living standards have stagnated since 1965. I have no idea if 'standard of living' (which is a quasi-standardized economic concept as defined by things like GDP per capita, etc.) has gone up or down because of immigration, all else equal.

I'm pretty sure that real GDP per capita has gone up very substantially since 1965. You and I may not like how/why/where/to whom/etc. this has happened, but I don't see how the case could be made that it hasn't.

Now 'quality of life' is a very different thing, and we're likely to find more agreement there.

but if the evidence better living is "mostly superficial ways" (to an extent, better cars and cheaper airfare could even be considered such)

I'll take my tough as nails, reliable (runs like a charm at 145k miles), safe Subaru over some 1965 POS GM deathtrap, thank you very much, even if it's more expensive in real terms. When I'm carrying my kids around, it's far from superficial to me. In value for money terms I'm far, far ahead.

bleach said...

astorian,
"It also strikes me that the United Farm Workers are the strangest "labor union" in history. Can anyone think of any other "labor union" that ever insisted on bringing millions of foreign scabs into the job market?"

The leaders are getting a pay off, of course.

Anonymous said...

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2013/02/27/yahoo-kills-telecommuting-three-cheers-for-marissa-mayer/

bummer

Anonymous said...


Still, the most exciting news here concerns black women. This is a cohort with rising entrepreneurial savvy—yet another reason to be bullish on America’s future as a whole. - More here


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...

Anonymous said...

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2013/02/18/universal-preschool-is-bad-for-everyone/

Anonymous said...

http://newleftreview.org/II/79/mike-davis-the-last-white-election

elvisd said...

As Steve says, all other things being equal, has immigration increased or decreased the US standard of living?

A good argument could be made for decreased- that is, if you really pencil in mass immigration's "cumulative impacts". I figured I'd throw in this term, since it's frequently used in EIS's. I'll list a few.

Steve has pointed out many times about wage stagnation that Ill Imm promotes. Having cheaper food at the store is offset all around us by the ever-burgeoning social services industry that absorbs our tax dollars: welfare, EBT, WIC, bilingual education, and on and on. Big ag and contraction’s push for what amounts to scab/serf labor has done our country no favors by keeping the native poor from having some form of work to fall back on that was previously easy to get into. Unlike Thomas Friedman’s optimism of the poor moving on to better jobs, a lot of them don't, and the reality is that these “jobs Americans won’t do” would be filled by the native born if the twin forces of low wages and welfare didn’t encourage them otherwise. And while we’re on the subject of how the poor find “alternative” ways of making money, let’s not leave out the drug pipeline that open borders only helps along. It could also be argued image of cheap serf labor has also done a bit to demean hard grunt work in general in this country-that, too, you can toss into “cumulative impact”. It’s hard to believe that the era of the “common man” was not so long ago. As Steve points out, populism seems further and further away.

When we think of “standard of living”, we normally are thinking of a certain kind of middle class, and in a narrow, dollars and cents standard. I know that many on this post tend not to dwell much on cultural ideas of what would be a good standard of life, but they go hand in glove with the more economic arguments.

My idea of a standard of living is social as well as personal. I’m uneasy about the importation of a people that have a historical claim on a chunk of my country. History shows that open borders become shifting borders. To me, having to devote whole sectors of education, welfare, law, and culture to promote a narrative of a “salad bowl”, at the expense of the civilization that my ancestors built and I hope to pass on to my child is a lowering of my standard of living. I don’t give a rat’s ass if there are people of Ghanan, Lebanese, or Pashtun origin who are my neighbors, as long as they leave the dysfunction that sent them packing from their own countries behind. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen anymore. The entire media/academic complex behind promoting illegal imm seems hell bent on using continued immigration to disrupt the idea of a common society. That is a lowering of my standard of living. I don’t like the idea of living in an atomizing country.

How has massive immigration improved the standard of living of El Paso, Los Angeles, Miami, Tuscan, and Minneapolis- not to mention numerous smaller cities in the South and the Midwest that now have culturally enriching branches of MS13 and the Surenos? How’s it working out for Europe, for that matter? Seriously, is there anyone on this post who would have a problem with “paying a living” wage in return for not having to deal with all this?

Anonymous said...

Still, the most exciting news here concerns black women. This is a cohort with rising entrepreneurial savvy—yet another reason to be bullish on America’s future as a whole. - More here

Your link says, "Black Incarceration Rates Plummet".

Doesn't that mean we're going to see a spike in crime rates in a few years?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
There is a great deal to be said for having a smaller population. Countries like Japan, England, the Netherlands, etc, are very densely populated. Roads are terribly congested and real estate prices are very high. The pressure on the local ecology is very intense. All of these countries, in my view, would be better off if they had a quarter, or even a third, less people. Immigration exacerbates all the problems these countries face (although Japan at least, seems to understand this). As for the USA it would have had a stabilized population at about 220 million today had there been no significant immigration. California in particular has been altered and degraded perhaps the most. Its population today would have been about half as large and twice as white as it now is without the post 1965 flood. Watch old TV shows from the 1960's and 70s' (The Rockford files, Starsky and Hutch) to see what has been lost
This is true, particulary counties like Orange and San Diego and Riverside were mainly white until 2000. Its mainly hispanics but Orange also got a lot of asians as well.

Anonymous said...

Well, think that Santa Ana was about 12,000 people per square mile without high rise buildings. Its second to San Fran which was plan to have high density.

Average Joe said...

Doesn't that mean we're going to see a spike in crime rates in a few years?

Of course, but then the higher crime rates will just be blamed on racism like everything else that is wrong with the blacks. The fact that higher rates of black incarceration leads to lower crime rates is something that most people in the media don't want to hear.

Obvious said...

Because the agenda is to get as many non-Whites as possible into the US.

Anonymous said...

"This is an area where I think the free market economists trump all the other researchers. There is just too much data to keep track of when it comes to every resource on earth. Price is really the only reliable gauge."

That's going to fail dismally for any element harvested as a byproduct, such as helium.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/a-ballooning-problem-the-great-helium-shortage-8439108.html

Luke Lea said...

Modest global warming will increase the size of the temperate zone (look at the globe) and increase crop yields (CO2 is a fertilizer). The world would be better off.

Anonymous said...

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12686

stari_momak said...

"I'm pretty sure that real GDP per capita has gone up very substantially since 1965. You and I may not like how/why/where/to whom/etc. this has happened, but I don't see how the case could be made that it hasn't."

I once managed to find California's 'GDP' over the years -- up to 2008 if I recall. I computed the real rate of per capita increase, against the national CPI. It turns out that, yes, the state's GDP was growing per capita, but the rate of that growth (i.e. the second derivative of GDP over time) was shrinking rapidly. This was an analysis conducted with data from before the great recession.

stari_momak said...

"How many miles of extra roads do we need to build?"

I've tried to make this point with 'Progressives' in my county, who are up in arms over the proposed toll road in South OC, which will impact the famous 'Trestles'' surf spot. It's simple -- more people means more houses and thus more roads. They always come back with "well, it isn't immigrants buying houses in Temecula or the Elsinore valley. Of course that's not quite right, but even if it were all native-born Americans, I try to explain, the reason people move out to such god forsaken places, and subject themselves to a 1.5 hour commute each day (each way), is because their old neighborhoods have turned into barrios or little Saigons or whatever.

Anonymous said...


I've tried to make this point with 'Progressives' in my county, who are up in arms over the proposed toll road in South OC, which will impact the famous 'Trestles'' surf spot. It's simple -- more people means more houses and thus more roads. They always come back with "well, it isn't immigrants buying houses in Temecula or the Elsinore valley. Of course that's not quite right, but even if it were all native-born Americans, I try to explain, the reason people move out to such god forsaken places, and subject themselves to a 1.5 hour commute each day (each way), is because their old neighborhoods have turned into barrios or little Saigons or whatever.
3/3/13, 12:06 AM A lot of South OC are folks that use to live in Anaheim or Santa Ana.

Svigor said...

Modest global warming will increase the size of the temperate zone (look at the globe) and increase crop yields (CO2 is a fertilizer). The world would be better off.

Russia might be a huge winner in that scenario.