Diane S. Katz is an adjunct scholar for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, formerly serving as director of science, environment and technology policy from 2002 to 2008. Prior to joining the Center, Katz served for nine years as a member of The Detroit News editorial board, specializing in science and the environment, telecommunications and technology, and the auto industry. Her work has won numerous awards, including top honors from the Michigan Press Association in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

By Diane S. Katz

Understanding Public Opinion Surveys

Using Taxes to Lobby for Taxes

The High Cost of Government Regulation

Proposals to Further Regulate Michigan’s Electricity Market: An Assessment

More than a dozen bills are pending in the Michigan Legislature to expand regulation of the electricity industry and to impose new environmental requirements on energy production and sales. As a group, these legislative proposals assume the necessity of government intervention in the production and distribution of energy. This report details the drawbacks for consumers and the economy of substituting political forces for market forces in electricity service. … more

Bad Science Fuels Environmental Policies

The obvious disconnect between environmental policy and science is hardly surprising given the political pressure to act on climate change. … more

The Opportunities and Limitations of Biomonitoring

Remarkable advances in analytical chemistry now make it possible to measure minute levels of both natural and synthetic compounds in human tissue and body fluids. This “biomonitoring” allows researchers to determine more precisely than ever the degree to which individuals have been exposed to specific chemicals in the environment, and how exposures change over time. Consequently, federal and state officials increasingly regard biomonitoring as a potential new underpinning of environmental and public health regulations. … more

Understanding Public Opinion Surveys

Stemming the Debate

A Flawed Argument for Higher State Taxes

Weight of the Evidence

Michigan’s Deer Herd Flourishes While Hunters’ Numbers Decline

State Government Wants to Subsidize a Theme Park in Grayling Township

The Not So Good Life

By the standards of the last century, air quality today is excellent — notwithstanding the claims of environmental activists. … more

The Fluorescent Revolution

Reach Out and Tax Someone

Court Ignored Sound Science in Carbon Dioxide Ruling

Consensus is actually antithetical to the proper conduct of scientific inquiry. … more

Supreme Science?

Taken For a Ride

It bears noting that any park or other amusement facility that must rely on tax dollars, rather than private investment, is by definition not viable and thus unworthy of taxpayer support. … more

Taken For a Ride

Using Taxes To Lobby for Taxes

Great Lakes, Great Conundrum

Assessing Stricter Mercury Controls in Michigan

On April 17, 2006, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm directed the Department of Environmental Quality to draft a rule under the state’s Clean Air Act to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 90 percent. The governor ordered the reductions to occur in two phases. The first phase is supposed to entail the reduction schedule established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year. The second phase is supposed to exceed the federal requirements by reducing emissions 90 percent by the year 2015. … more

The Trade-Offs of Renewable Energy

Environmental Doomsayers Can Breathe Easy

This welcome news is yet another reminder that prognosticators of eco-catastrophe are off the mark. … more

Assessing the Case for Cable Franchise Reform

Advances in technology now make it possible for both cable firms and telecommunications companies to provide voice, data and video services to most homes and businesses. This constitutes a dramatic change from the days of cable dominance in the video market, and that of the “Baby Bells” in telephone service. What hasn’t changed, however, is the franchise regime that has long limited access to the local market and thus inhibited competition. In this paper, Diane S. Katz examines the effects of this obsolete regulation on consumers and the economy, as well as the myriad benefits of reform. … more

Katz Roils Waters at U.S. Senate

Network Neutrality Bills

Congress Seizes on Net Neutrality

The State of the Great Lakes

An Alternative to Green Orthodoxy (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

There is an alternative to embracing Green Orthodoxy. Few states or school districts have actually evaluated the veracity and impartiality of environmental curricula. … more

An Alternative to Green Orthodoxy

Government Broadband: Unnecessary and Unfair

More often than not, municipal broadband ventures have saddled taxpayers with unwelcome debt or otherwise failed to deliver promised results. … more

Government Broadband Unnecessary, Improper

Telecom Policy Staff

Telecom Reform: The Right Call for Michigan

A Wisconsin Telecommunications Policy Primer

A guide to understanding telecommunications law and regulation in Wisconsin and the United States. … more

Supreme Court Ruling Shows Telecom Regulation Should Be Abolished

The ruling’s outcome is all well and good. Yet the FCC’s distinction between “telecommunications services” and “information services” is, in fact, imprecise and arbitrary — a regulatory invention that has no place in today’s telecommunications market. … more

Creating Clear Signals on Telecom

Telecom firms are understandably reluctant to invest in markets where regulators wield power arbitrarily. … more

When Politics Trumps Science

There’s no shortage of examples in which public policy has proved deadly when divorced from science. … more

A Telecommunications Policy Primer

A guide to understanding telecommunications law and regulation in Michigan and the United States. … more

Lansing Bureaucracy Threatens New Communications Technology

The Michigan Public Service Commission says it wants a “consistent regulatory policy.” Aiming for “consistency in policy usually means protecting special interests. … more

Crossed Lines: Regulatory Missteps in Telecom Policy

Violation of property rights is the defining feature of current telecom policy. … more

Land Preservation Double-Cross

A slim majority of county commissioners has so far refused to put the millage on the ballot, citing significant unanswered questions about its economic effects. … more

"Anti-Sprawl" Report Deeply Flawed

Michigan’s Primary Land-Use Plan a Failure

By every measure, Michigan remains largely a rural state. More than 18 million of Michigan’s 36 million acres is forestland, a share that has actually grown by 2 million acres in the past 20 years. … more

Michigan's Farmland Preservation Program: An Assessment

Michigan’s principal land preservation program has failed to achieve its goals. … more

Beachfront Property Rights Need Protection

Regulators would do far better … to focus attention on the dumping of raw sewage and chemicals that are triggering abnormal plant and algae growth along the lakeshore. … more

Eagle Sightings Signal Improved Michigan Water Quality

The United States and Canada have identified 14 areas within Michigan’s jurisdiction in which water quality does not support a full range of uses, such as drinking or fish consumption. … more

Don’t Stifle Telecom Competition

Attack on SUVs Unwarranted

Highway safety in general has dramatically improved despite a doubling of licensed drivers and twice as many registrations. The fatality rate hit a historic low of 1.51 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2001, down from 5.5 in 1966. … more

Senate Bill Would Revive Telephone Price Controls

Telephone Rate Regulation Rings Hollow

The Clean Michigan Initiative: An Assessment

An Examination of the Goals, Results and Fiscal Consequences of Michigan's Most Ambitious Environmental Bond Program … more

The DNR's Latest Land Grab

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking control of some 390,000 acres of prime Upper Peninsula property to preserve as forestland and for recreational access. Well-intended though the proposal may be, the state should be privatizing resource management rather than increasing its already vast holdings. … more

$20 Million DNR Proposal a “Land Grab,” Analyst Says

Who Reviews the Peer Review?

Should published research be pre-approved by other researchers, or should the market decide its worth? … more

The Next Energy Boondoggle?

Promoting energy R&D in Michigan does not require yet another government bureaucracy allocating favors to select firms. Privatization of state and federal research programs may make Michigan the economic powerhouse the governor envisions. … more

Is Next Energy the Next Energy Boondoggle?

Promoting energy R&D in Michigan does not require yet another government bureaucracy allocating favors to firms willing to relocate to state-owned property. … more

The Great 9-1-1 Tax Pileup

In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission told states to create cell-locator 9-1-1 emergency phone service and pay for it themselves. Washington miscalculated both costs and capacity, and today only 21 of 83 Michigan counties have even partially implemented this "unfunded mandate." Meanwhile, the overpaid taxes are piling up. The federal government should scrap its plan and allow the private sector to come up with the most reliable, cost-effective 9-1-1 service. … more

"Virtual Reality Fee" Virtually Kills Development

Birmingham's "virtual reality fee," which assesses steep taxes on business owners who want to paint or otherwise modify their buildings, is a threat to the city's economic well being. … more

Dialing (911) for Dollars

Michigan consumers are forking over millions of dollars annually for more sophisticated 911 services that have yet to materialize. Prescribed by federal regulators six years ago, the enhanced emergency calling system is beset by technical and financial difficulties that demonstrate the pitfalls of unfunded mandates. … more

Setting the Course for More Effective Environmental Policy

Mackinac Center Director of Science, Environment, and Technology Policy Diane Katz's speech "Setting the Course for More Effective Environmental Policy," delivered April 29, 2002, at the Mackinac Center Issues and Ideas luncheon in Lansing. … more

Broadband Agency Taps Housing Money

"What does a program designed to help low-income people get affordable housing have to do with wiring the state for high-speed Internet access?" … more

Depression-Era Program Should be Privatized

The Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps is a Depression-era program that recruits people ages 18-25 to spruce up state parks, clear trails and rake beaches. The MCCC program should be removed from state stewardship. … more

New EPA Air Regs Could Kill Michigan Jobs

The regulatory state scored a major victory when a federal appeals court recently concluded that procedure matters far more than scientific fact in environmental rulemaking. Unless Congress intervenes, the ruling will prove enormously costly to Michigan workers and industry without yielding commensurate benefits. … more

Proposals for Oil Conservation More of a Threat than Energy Dependence

A spate of proposals for reducing America's "dependence" on foreign oil have followed in the wake of Sept. 11. These proposals are misguided and would do more to undermine American strength, which lies in its economic power and stability, than dependence on foreign oil ever has, or will. … more

CAFE = Causing Auto Fatalities Everywhere?

The U.S. Senate will devote most of March to debating a $35-billion energy package that supposedly will protect Americans from both greedy sheikhs and global warming. But if enacted as proposed, the measure actually would result in a good deal of American blood needlessly spilled on U.S. highways. … more

Good News for the New Year: Americans Living Longer Than Ever

There's good news for the New Year: Americans are living longer than at any time in history-76.9 years, on average. This is testimony to both the vibrancy of nature and the ingenuity of man-and the industrial and technological progress fueled by free minds and free markets. … more

Should the State Boost Broadband?

In his 2002 State of the State address, Gov. John Engler touted the economic benefits to be derived from his proposed state government takeover of Michigan's high-speed Internet network. But a host of unrealistic assumptions underlie the governor's claims. … more

A Success Story Without the Success

To skeptics who question the wisdom of his proposal for state control of broadband deployment, Gov. John Engler offers as validation the success of Michigan's housing development program. But the similarities are slim and the benefits disputed. … more

Wrong Road

Surrounded by hundreds of gleaming new autos at the 2002 North American International Auto Show, Detroit's annual celebration of the internal combustion engine, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Wednesday effectively conceded what the Big Three and their customers have known for years: the feds have no business dictating vehicle design. … more

Engler's Broadband Ambition

Gov. John Engler's ambitious plan for state control of high-speed Internet lines gets its first hearing in the Legislature today. In considering the proposal, lawmakers would do well to heed the dismal results of similar schemes in other states. … more

Long Live Us

There's good news for the New Year. Americans are living longer than at any time in history-76.9 years, on average. This is testimony to both the vibrancy of nature and the ingenuity of man. … more

The (New) Three R's: Recycling, Rationing, and Regulation

Speech given by Ms. Diane Katz, then-editorial writer for The Detroit News, at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's 8th Annual Scholars Summit, held Nov. 9-10, 2001, in Midland. … more