Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Negative Externalities Caused by Trade: The Case of Chicken Fat

At the Fletcher School at Tufts, my students argued that the transportation of goods such as roses from one continent to final consumers in the USA helped to exacerbate greenhouse gas externalities. They were arguing that "local produce" and goods may impose fewer negative externalities.

Here is a funny example of what my students were trying to say. I'd like to know how liability works here. Is the truck company libel?

November 28, 2007
Chicken Fat Leaks Over 20 Miles

ACCOMAC, Va., Nov. 27 (AP) — A truck leaked poultry fat along 20 miles of Route 13 on Tuesday, causing at least four crashes and making a stinky mess.

The state police said that a truck hauling waste poultry grease from a Perdue Farms plant left open a valve and that the fat had leaked from the plant, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, to the Maryland state line.

At least four crashes were reported, said Sgt. Joe Bunting. One person was taken to a hospital.

Sergeant Bunting described the grease as a “glassy film” and said crews sanded the road. He added that the gunk stuck to tires and spread to secondary roads, causing a “really funky” odor.