Kansas legislators fleece their grandchildren

File under “this would be funny if it weren’t frightening.”


By Committee on Energy and Environment

(a) No public funds may be used, either directly or indirectly, to promote, support, mandate, require, order, incentivize, advocate, plan for, participate in or implement sustainable development.

(2) “sustainable development” means a mode of human development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come, but not to include the idea, principle or practice of conservation or conservationism.

Surely it’s not the “resource use aims to meet human needs” part that the authors find objectionable, so it must be the “preserving the environment so that these needs can be met … for generations to come” that they reject. The courts are going to have a ball developing a legal test separating that from conservation. I guess they’ll have to draw a line that distinguishes “present” from “generations to come” and declares that conservation is for something other than the future. Presumably this means that Kansas must immediately abandon all environment and resource projects with a payback time of more than a year or so.

But why stop with environment and resource projects? Kansas could simply set its discount rate for public projects to 100%, thereby terminating all but the most “present” of its investments in infrastructure, education, R&D and other power grabs by generations to come.

Another amusing contradiction:

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the use of public funds outside the context of sustainable development: (1) For planning the use, development or extension of public services or resources; (2) to support, promote, advocate for, plan for, enforce, use, teach, participate in or implement the ideas, principles or practices of planning, conservation, conservationism, fiscal responsibility, free market capitalism, limited government, federalism, national and state sovereignty, individual freedom and liberty, individual responsibility or the protection of personal property rights;

So, what happens if Kansas decides to pursue conservation the libertarian way, by allocating resource property rights to create markets that are now missing? Is that sustainable development, or promotion of free market capitalism? More fun for the courts.

Perhaps this is all just a misguided attempt to make the Montana legislature look sane by comparison.

h/t Bloomberg via George Richardson

3 thoughts on “Kansas legislators fleece their grandchildren”

  1. You could also file it under “the damage of conspiracy theories.” Rationality has flown the coop. Everything is an all or nothing proposition these days. Gun control = all out gun ban, environmental policy = economy crushing energy burdens, sustainability = plot by the UN to take over the world.

    The part that I simply don’t get is that even though their voices are the loudest, polls indicate they are just a vocal minority. That we continue to let ourselves be governed and influenced by conspiracy is something that vexes me to no end.

    I hope that there is still enough sanity in the world that something like this won’t actually come to pass, but it still is disturbing to see it even introduced.

    1. Right. It’s hard to say what’s going on. My hypothesis here in MT is that the Republican party has moved to the far right, but a large number of habitual R voters haven’t noticed, and continue to vote R, even though the Democrats are actually advocating policies that Republicans embraced two decades ago. Otherwise I really can’t explain the kind of lunacy, like putting the state on the gold standard unilaterally, that goes down in Helena these days.

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