“The most powerful environmental policy is liberty, the central organizing principle of the American Republic and its people.”
– Republican Platform (below)
The Republican platform on the environment is factual and realistic. It focuses on real environmental issues and not the trumped up one of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. It looks to science but also to political economy. “Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources,” the platform reads. “This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain.”
And better yet, also in reference to the global warming debate: “We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.” Climate science researchers, it is time to go honest or go home.
Free-market environmental policy complements and supplements the Republican’s free-market energy policies, discussed yesterday. It puts people first. It reflects a Julian Simon view of the world.
And finally, private ownership, a staple of free market environmentalism, is elevated. After all, “The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.”
The Platform follows.
Protecting Our Environment
The environment is getting cleaner and healthier. The nation’s air and waterways, as a whole, are much healthier than they were just a few decades ago.
Efforts to reduce pollution, encourage recycling, educate the public, and avoid ecological degradation have been a success. To ensure their continued support by the American people, however, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality to a spirit of cooperation with producers, landowners, and the public.
An important factor is full transparency in development of the data and modeling that drive regulations. Legislation to restore the authority of States in environmental protection is essential. We encourage the use of agricultural best management practices among the States to reduce pollution.
Our Republican Party’s Commitment to Conservation
Conservation is a conservative value. As the pioneer of conservation over a century ago, the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles.
For example, we believe people are the most valuable resource, and human health and safety are the most important measurements of success. A policy protecting these objectives, however, must balance economic development and private property rights in the short run with conservation goals over the long run. Also, public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands.
Moreover, the advance of science and technology advances environmentalism as well. Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources. This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain. We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.
Private Stewardship of the Environment
Experience has shown that, in caring for the land and water, private ownership has been our best guarantee of conscientious stewardship, while the worst instances of environmental degradation have occurred under government control. By the same token, the most economically advanced countries – those that respect and protect private property rights – also have the strongest environmental protections, because their economic progress makes possible the conservation of natural resources.
In this context, Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government’s enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining, or forestry through private ownership. Timber is a renewable natural resource, which provides jobs to thousands of Americans. All efforts should be made to make federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service available for harvesting. The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.
It makes sense that those closest to a situation are best able to determine its remedy. That is why a site- and situation-specific approach to an environmental problem is more likely to solve it, instead of a national rule based on the ideological concerns of politicized central planning.
We therefore endorse legislation to require congressional approval before any rule projected to cost in excess of $100 million to American consumers can go into effect.
The Republican Party supports appointing public officials to federal agencies who will properly and correctly apply environmental laws and regulations, always in support of economic development, job creation, and American prosperity and leadership. Federal agencies charged with enforcing environmental laws must stop regulating beyond their authority. There is no place in regulatory agencies for activist regulators.
Reining in the EPA
Since 2009, the EPA has moved forward with expansive regulations that will impose tens of billions of dollars in new costs on American businesses and consumers. Many of these new rules are creating regulatory uncertainty, preventing new projects from going forward, discouraging new investment, and stifling job creation.
We demand an end to the EPA’s participation in “sue and settle” lawsuits, sweetheart litigation brought by environmental groups to expand the Agency’s regulatory activities against the wishes of Congress and the public. We will require full transparency in litigation under the nation’s environmental laws, including advance notice to all State and local governments, tribes, businesses, landowners, and the public who could be adversely affected.
We likewise support pending legislation to ensure cumulative analysis of EPA regulations, and to require full transparency in all EPA decisions, so that the public will know in advance their full impact on jobs and the economy. We oppose the EPA’s unwarranted revocation of existing permits.
We also call on Congress to take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations that will harm the nation’s economy and threaten millions of jobs over the next quarter century.
The most powerful environmental policy is liberty, the central organizing principle of the American Republic and its people. Liberty alone fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and information exchange. Liberty must remain the core energy behind America’s environmental improvement.