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[greenyes] Unintended Impacts of Weak Environmental Laws
 from the February 24, 2005 of the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

For economic growth, tougher environmental laws?
By Mark Clayton | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
When tiny Clipper Windpower builds its first factory, perhaps this year, it 
will automatically become America's second-largest manufacturer of wind 
turbines. The Carpinteria, Calif., company even has a hot new technology 
that should be a sure thing.
But it's still hunting for financing because being a wind-turbine builder in 
the United States is tough, so tough that only one other US manufacturer 
In 20 years, the US has gone from leading the world in wind-energy 
manufacturing - with at least a dozen enterprising firms - to lagging badly. 
Companies in Germany, Denmark, Spain, and elsewhere have grabbed the 
technological lead and now hold roughly 80 percent of a $8 billion market 
that's growing 25 to 35 percent a year.
The reason? Some experts point to lax clean-air laws in the US. That's 
right. Weak environmental regulations may hurt, not help, industries by 
blunting their technological edge. Such contrarian logic, controversial 
among economists, is about to be put to the test.
By not signing the Kyoto Protocol, the US has set itself apart from most of 
the industrialized world. So will its companies flourish, thanks to lower 
environmental costs - or lose out to foreign firms that cut greenhouse 
Peter Anderson, President
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