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Ron Paul: The most anti-environmental candidate ever

Dan Farber, professor of law | December 9, 2011

In a field in which all the candidates are weak in terms of protecting the environment, Ron Paul is unquestionably the worst.  Here is his position (taken directly from his website):

Eliminate the ineffective EPA. Polluters should answer directly to property owners in court for the damages they create – not to Washington.

OK, what’s wrong with this proposal?  Here are a few things:

  1. Why just property owners? Why not other people with health effects? Is there some reason why a tenant with asthma can’t sue, but a company with paint damage can go to court? Because property values matter, but not human health?
  2. Who would be the defendants? If you live in a big city, how do you sue all of the polluters for damage? Do you sue everyone who has a car or truck for contributing to air pollution? How do you pay for the expert witnesses and legal fees?
  3. Why only damages?  If he truly believed in property rights, he’d allow injunctions to stop the harm from continuing.
  4. How would courts handle the immense body of litigation?  The pollution suits would be the world’s biggest class actions, with millions of plaintiffs, swarms of defendants, huge fees for expert witnesses, etc.  Is that really what conservatives want?

We’ve already tried this approach, and it didn’t work. This is more or less where the law stood fifty years ago. We didn’t pass modern environmental laws because we loved regulation; we passed them because the old system led to massive air and water pollution.

This isn’t a policy proposal.  It’s a libertarian fantasy. And a callous one at that.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.

Comments to “Ron Paul: The most anti-environmental candidate ever

  1. In fact, Dr. Paul’s approach has not been tried in the past.

    And if it is in the future, it will likely lead to much more responsible behavior from corporations who must answer to the citizenry, instead of being protected by their lobbyists and puppets and Washington.

    Your short post has a lot of questions, and I also have one. Why was GE, a very large campaign contributor to Obama, exempt from recently implemented environmental rules by the EPA?

  2. Thank you for raising these considerations, but you’ve taken one sentence from the man, raised some objections with no attempt to discover his actual views on the subject, and pronounced him the worst on the matter. If you’re interested in learning about alternative views, I would encourage you to read Murray Rothbard’s “Law, property rights, and air pollution.”

  3. You clearly don’t know anything about Ron Paul. Ron Paul is absolutley an advocate for the environment. Currently our epa regulates polluting companies and the like, and they do a lousy job of it. Ron Paul who is going by the constitution says that if a company is polluting the air they are in violation of your rights. So when he says that the public should go after that company he’s giving us the ability to put that company out of business or force them to create a way of doing what they do without ruining our air/water/whatever.

  4. 1. In libertarian terms, a person is a property owner of oneself, so anyone effected could be a party to a suit.
    2. Class action.
    3. The fines create disincentive to continue doing harm, especially when the continue as long as the harm is done.
    4. Sounds wonderful. Of course, once the polluters get the idea that they can no longer get away with their actions (now protected by law) they will eagerly settle. Done and done.

    But your argument seems to be that government, which cannot do anything right, will manage to do the hard stuff and get it right. That is the fantasy, not grounded in reality. The libertarian way is going after the money, making the violators scream in pain, until they stop doing harm. Occam’s razor. Sounds good to me.

  5. Dan Farber as a college professor, you sir make me laugh. I believe anyone with even a marginal grasp on intelligence could understand that Paul’s comments on polluters is directed at land and water polluters as the effect the agricultural land owners and rural land owners getting their drinking water from wells and thelikes. Here you go off on an air pollution ecapade, expressing a highly “unlikely” scenario of litigans rushing the court system to sue health effects due to air pollution. Sorry, I just don’t see it. Why then don’t we have more people sueing Phillip Morris Co. right now? Its obviouse to most people second hand smokers pollute the air for all of us, and has caused many people to suffer serious lung ailments. Why then don’t we all just sue the smokers for that matter? My feeling is that we wouldn’t see much of anything change where you suggest we would. The air is either the property of all of us or it is the property of non of us meaning that it can not be owned like real estate. Either way, what you are suggesting would in real world context most likely not occur.

  6. More hand-wringing from another fearful baby boomer who doesn’t like the youthful notion of liberty promoted by Dr. Paul.

    The market, and the rule of law is a much more fierce regulator than any bureaucrat or managerialist. Today, polluters can simply bribe their way through regulations to loopholes. Opening the possibility of massive class action lawsuits — which would effectively shut down many polluters — would strike much greater fear into polluters than simply paying lobbyists to negotiate their way around “regulations”.

  7. He believes that environmental legislation, such as emissions standards, should be handled between the states or regions concerned. “The people of Texas do not need federal regulators determining our air standards.”

    How can you argue that regulations written for and by the people will be to a lower standard than those written by a central agency of bureaucrats which is heavily lobbied (and run) by corporations? While he isn’t perfect (who is?), “most anti-environmental” is nowhere near the right term.

    The EPA clearly hasn’t been able to do much of anything. At least Dr. Paul wants to shake things up.

  8. The EPA and its corporate appointed officers empower companies to pollute on privte lands. If a persons air or water is polluted by a company following EPA guidlines, there is very little a person can do to fight back.

    The EPA is run by politicians, whose interests are tied to the companies they are supposed to oversea. Since spending money to influence elections is somehow allowed by law, the average Joe will have very little chance in changing the way the EPA works. Corporations with deep pockets however will not be under the same hurdles.

  9. Desperate much?
    As you know, the laws wouldn’t go away just because the EPA, as its own bureaucracy, would.

    As we have it now, lobbyists swarm Washington and help write the adminstrative regulations that affect their industries. Universities are part of the industry, spinning off studies to suit.

    Fortunately those interested in real change won’t fall for your hit piece, and like Federal workers themselves, will choose to vote for Ron Paul.

  10. Desperate much?
    As you know, the laws wouldn’t go away just because the EPA, as its own bureaucracy, would.

    As we have it now, lobbyists swarm Washington and help write the adminstrative regulations that affect their industries. Universities are part of the industry, spinning off studies to suit.

    Fortunately those interested in real change won’t fall your hit piece, and like Federal workers themselves, will choose to vote for Ron Paul.

  11. You can be sure Ron Paul is not a globalist an d he is not for the outrageous tax on breath called “cap and trade”

  12. Dan,

    The EPA is ineffective. You’ve tried to sum up Paul’s argument in one very brief statement but the reality is that he is open to letting cities and states regulate the environment locally. You’re either being ignorant or dishonest to suggest otherwise.

    “Do you sue everyone who has a car or truck for contributing to air pollution?” What kind of question is that?? Do we do that now?? No, because we handle vehicle pollution at the state level. It would still be possible to maintain that same level of regulation under Paul’s proposed policy. Are you that incapable of rational thought that you lack the capacity to comprehend that their is more than one level of government. And I’m sure he’s not literally saying only property owners can seek retribution in the courts. Perhaps you should go back and find a more substantial explanation of his policy. You can’t honestly base a blog entry on this one snippet you’ve extracted from his entire policy.

  13. Prof Farber, you might want to read up why Ron Paul wants to abolish the EPA. Read about all the mischief it has been up to. It was a massive failure after Katrina. John Stossel did a report about this on one of his shows.

    You fail to recognize all the corruption and corporatism/cronyism involved in the environmental movement (eg Solyndra), and it is all based on false “science” and therefore cannot be a basis for laws. Take time to watch “The Great Global Warming Swindle” documentary on YouTube.

    “Property owners” does not exclude other people. If you can prove that a company dumped toxic waste into your water and made you sick, you can take part in a class-action law suit and the legal costs would be borne by the defendant if they lose or the plaintiffs can contribute.

    Point 4 is useless because there is nothing impossible about a law suit with millions of people. As for point 2, just because people contribute to air pollution does not mean it is harmful. Burning your old newspapers or magazines in your backyard contributes to air pollution by 0.000001% but should you be penalized for that using some stupid laws?

  14. The current system isn’t working. It started breaking years ago. The current system is financed by war production, a fiat currency, a market which is fixed and not free, and is aided and abetted by a media which is biased to support the current system — at the continuing expense of the masses. It is time for a change – real change. Remember that slogan? The last prez to use it didn’t change anything for the better, and his failure to change things wasn’t because he didn’t have buddies. It was because he was just another example of the continuing problem.

    50 years ago we didn’t have the ability to communicate effectively. Today we have more of a chance than ever before (assuming we don’t allow the govt to take our opportunity to communicate away).

    Good luck and good power, everyone. We are going to need it to fix this broken system. Ron Paul 2012

  15. Professor,

    This issue is not whether we should promote a health environment, but by whom should be the arbitrator, investigator, and enforcer of policy to that end.

    You assume that the government is best suited to carry out this function. However such belief falls to recognize that in a free society government is unable to carry out policy effectively, and more importantly honestly without deceit. In no venue is this as apparent as in environmental policy.

    If you look at the actual environmental policies put forth promulgated by government the hand of the top few reaping massive advantage at the expense of the American middle. So while the policy are aimed at the reduction of man made co2, the mechanics done is nothing less consolidation of power and wealth in those with access to government.

    For example, Cap and Trade which is a new Wall Street commodity market created out of thin air, and squiggle light bulbs that more jobs to low cost markets and sell product at government sanction market ups. And all this financed by fiat currency.

    It is statist fantasy to think that the government solution will not abuse and drive down the people in achieving the stated ends. As a realist, all government goals serve the people who promote them. Solving the problem can only be secondary to a grant of economic and political benefit to the proponents. So much so that the proponents in pursuit of their windfall that they could fabricate and distort to establish the existence and scope of the problem.

    It is a statist fantasy to believe

  16. I would recommend that you take a look at Ron Paul’s books The Revolution: A Manifesto and Liberty Defined. You may not agree with his conclusions, but at least you could take the time to understand and interact with them more deeply before writing an article attacking what you “think” he is saying. I mean, did you really think his entire position consisted of just two sentences? You might even be surprised to find that he has already addressed some of the very questions you ask.

  17. 1. Can you provide any evidence he is limiting it to property owners? The link you provided does not so indicate. It seems likely that his position is that people with ordinary health effects could sue also. Protecting property rights is not to the exclusion of protecting against acts of violence from which individuals also have grounds to sue.

    2. You’re probably talking past libertarians on this one, or worse, explaining why no government enforcement mechanism is appropriate. How is government better situated to decide who was hurt how much by whom? If people are being hurt by the environment, then a higher demand for a cleaner environment will arise. Free market folks believe that supply can meet demand with the environment as with most everything else.

    3. Can you provide any evidence Ron Paul is against injunctions? The link you provided does not so indicate.

    4. You’re right that nobody wants courts clogged with suits. Instead, free market folk believe supply will meet demand with the environment if we would let it. I suppose you consider it “callous” that that would mean the environment would surely be in worse shape than it is now. That is a given. I don’t think there is any fantasy involved where people think the environment would be as clean.

    If I’m catching your drift, it seems to me that what you’re really saying is that government should be allowed to tell people how much they should care about the environment, and the actual societal demand for a clean environment doesn’t matter. When you say the libertarian approach doesn’t work, you are simply saying that it doesn’t measure up to your own personal demand for a clean environment.

    The real question is what the proper role of government should be. Does it get to take our money and decide for us how much we should care about things, or should we get to create an environment exactly as clean as we actually want it through property rights, voluntary contracts, the free market forces of individuals investing in and/or buying products from companies protecting the environment, etc.?

    I understand the idea that people will make the wrong decisions for the environment is probably painful to an environmentalist, but that’s the same problem we have with almost every aspect of government:

    “But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” — Animal Farm

  18. Perhaps I misunderstand, since all your arguments are stated as rhetorical questions instead of refutable assertions. I’m no legal expert, just a mere student. However, to me your argument sounds something like this: The legal system, as it existed 50 years ago cannot protect people from environmental harm due to the costs, logistical challenges, and volume of litigation that will ensue.

    If the legal system cannot protect people from attacks on their health and property for reasons such as these, then the legal system is not adequately performing its function. It should be reformed and improved. A bureaucracy such as the EPA will be no more effective than the existing legal system, unless given authoritarian power to control individuals and corporations by force.

    Point three falls into the realm of the judiciary. It would not be RP’s role as president to determine whether or not the injunctions you speak of would be allowed or disallowed. His part is only to eliminate the EPA from the executive branch.

  19. The EPA allows pollution. They say, you can’t pollute a lot, but we’ll allow you to pollute this much and it’s fine. Even then, those companies only have to lobby and pay enough money to the right people to get overlooked for their excessive pollution.

    In contrast, if you leave it up to the people. They will say “Oh hell no you can’t pollute!”. As long as the people are aware and active, no amount of money can cause the polluters to be overlooked.

    Which is more dangerous to you if you pollute: A man in a suit whom you can buy to ignore you, or a city full of people that are pissed?

    As for cars and trucks, what is the EPA doing about that now anyway? From what I see every day, absolutely nothing. So, we are in effect wasting money on a department of regulation that is doing absolutely no good.

    • I almost completely forgot, but if you pay attention to RP’s debates and his stance. He will eliminate those departments, and push the responsibility back to the states to regulate internally. This gives citizens of the USA 50 choices of where to live based upon pollution levels and regulations, instead of one broad choice that is ineffective.

      I’m done now. Sorry for so many posts.

  20. Not true, if you enforce property rights. you cannot pollute your neighbors air or land. Also, you think after the dollar crashes the people are going to care about pollution. they will be looking for their next meal. we won’t have money for all these programs. i’d rather have an honest man on the white house that doesn’t rule with an iron fist when the you know what hits the fan.Also homework….there is a city that gt so out of control with pollution and almost destroyed their waterway s. they cleaned it up without government. Where? the people just got sick of it being so nasty. are you one of those global warming nuts.don’t worry, the earth will get warm and then it will get cold again, it has for millions of years. mother nature will take us out way before we take her out.

  21. If corporations new that beyond a doubt. If they polluted on someone’s private property. That they would be responsible for damages, Trust me, there would be much less polution. Think about the oil spill by BP. Who got stuck with the bill?….lol…wake up. Don’t even get me started about subsidize and lack of competition in industry which causes low quality crap and dependence on fossil fuels.

  22. Great, another “journalist” who reads a sentence of Ron Paul’s policies and formulates an opinion. You need to do some more research on his position, and libertarianism.

    Following the constitution means that you cannot cause harm onto others. Pollution would be causing harm onto others, and therefore would be illegal. Furthermore, he would have the environmental protections be run by the states so that they are more efficient.

    The government departments have proven themselves inefficient and wasteful — not to mention we’re running out of money to pay for them.

    Please do some more research before writing your next hit-piece.

  23. “We’ve already tried this approach, and it didn’t work.”

    Um, we did? When?

    “This isn’t a policy proposal. It’s a libertarian fantasy. And a callous one at that.”

    So for all the liberal harping on corporatism, assuming you’re actually honest enough to admit how REALITY works, mainly the fact that various Fed agencies are staffed by the very industry insiders that they purport to ‘regulate,’ so you basically still want BP running it?

    Professor, unfortunately your idea of ‘reality’ seems to be the real “fantasy.”

    SEC/CFTC? Think Madoff.
    FDA? Got Vioxx & Monsanto?
    EPA? Um, who laxed deep-water drilling standards on BP’s offshore platforms? Well, apparently you gave a whole spiel on this topic, so you should know this, intimately.

    So the real question you may want to ask is, why do you, as a lawyer, whom I assume you’d weigh the reality of evidence before you, do you continue to deny that the real problem with statist entities is not that they’re ineffective only when staffed by the ‘wrong people,’ but in fact, the faux-legal construct that they operate under presumes that they have the power to regulate/legislate (only Congress do, not Exec.Branch functionaries), which naturally makes them a target of hijack by the very ‘moneyed interests,’ to begin with?

    Putting aside the IF’s, let’s talk practicality. Professor, by the way, what IS the only method of recourse to a harmed party due to pollution, be they a citizen victim/consumer/customer, or even the EPA itself?


    Well, so okay. With the EPA, they’ve been getting trigger happy lately, so not just lawsuits; they have govt’s number two favorite recourse: SWAT raids.

    If you’re not aware that the EPA has their own SWAT teams, or have already deployed them in the past, then you clearly have not been paying attention. But perhaps, as a Statist, you maybe don’t mind that gvt immorally exercise monopoly of power against its own employers, we the citizenry.

    So, whether we have the EPA or not, the recourse to rectifying your environmental concerns, in the end, is the same: lawsuit. And, this only happens AFTER the pollution has already been ‘committed,’ no?

    Solution is technological innovations and strict property rights/tort reforms, not UnConstitutional govt bureaucracies run & staffed by Exxon Mobil with grant-whore academics drunk on imposing fixed data as gospel to inflate the ‘need’ to satisfy their funding.

    If your argument is well, pollution doesn’t stop at a state boundary. Well, you really think varying height of smoke stacks do? Or do you think scrubbers do it better? Hell, many cities clean up their act long before the EPA. But as usual, reality has always shown that monopolies that pollute CANNOT exist without govt getting into bed with corporatists. Who knows maybe this is all a perpetual conspiracy of lawyers to keep yourselves employed.

    And no, there’s no such thing as a govt ‘scientist.’ You get govt grant, or subcontracted out by industrial interests getting govt grants, then that by definition makes one a political whore, not an objective scientist. Then again, homo sapien sapiens as subjective beings, is there really anything “objective” about human behavior?

    Besides no amount of carbon-taxing (wonder whatever happened to teaching 2nd graders about photosynthesis) will prevent pollution.

    First of all, you cannot know something is polluted… until something reveals itself to be polluted.

    So all ‘preventative measures,’still get us to the same point of your complaint, which is AFTER the fact/pollution has been observed/detected.

    It’s all postmortem.

    But really, let’s dispense with the academic fantasy. First, let’s address your Constitutional atty. side: IS EPA Constitutional?

    Answer is NO.

    Does it qualify under the Interstate Commerce Clause? No.
    Does it qualify under the Necessary & Proper Clause? No.
    Does it qualify under the Supremacy Clause? No.

    Nein, Nein, Nein!

    And please, don’t say the Supremacy Clause, as this part, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof;” always seems to be lost on the statists’ roster of rationale.

    Then again as a Lincoln-adherent like yourself, unfortunately such arguments would probably fall on deaf ears. You know, never mind the fact that Lincoln could care less about freeing slaves, habeas corpus, arrested Congressmen, newspaper editors, needlessly killed over 650,000 souls when all other Western colonial powers BOUGHT the slaves freedoms to abolish slavery. Lincoln’s core driving concern was preserving the Union and amassing centralization of power to do so, nothing more.

    LOL. My guess is that Thomas DiLorenzo’s books are not on your Amazon Kindle.

    In closing, here’s some political food for thought:

    I’d like to challenge you: IF you really are as serious about stopping pollution as you purport to be, as an environmentalist/Constitutional lawyer, perhaps you should be looking at suing the Pentagon.

    Yes, SUE the Pentagon. Afterall, we are all injured parties of their actions.

    If I’m not mistaken, IF DoD were ranked AS IF a nation, they’d qualify as the 55th most polluting ‘country’ in the world.

    Due to DoD, China, USSR, and S.Africa’s over 1,000 combined airborne nuclear tests over the last six decades, our Ozone Layer’s been long ‘punctured’ in the process, not to mention global rise in cancer rates, probably partly attributed to it. And, what about their bio-weapons research? That environmental hazard is immeasurable!

    Oh yeah, we’re “globally warming” alright. Blame the Pentagon.

    So, unless you’re prepared to do that, all this ‘save the environment’ talk is just that: talk.

    Based on that alone, YOU SHOULD support Ron Paul’s environmental policy as well as his foreign policy. Because oBUSHma, who has continued and expanded ALL of GWB’s illegal wars abroad & ubiquitous DHS-TSA policestate at home, has certainly been as horrible to the environment, if not more so than during GWB’s regime.

    Besides, a Paul Presidency would be INFINITELY better to the environment: NO MORE napalm/white phosphorous bombs, or DEPLETED URANIUM ROUNDS in war zones!

    PS. Really Professor, playing semantics calling your opposition as “climate change/global warming deniers” specifically to invoke the image of NeoNazis and Holocaust “deniers,” is pretty childish.

    Hey but then again, Hitler was an eco-Nazi, literally.

  24. Ron Paul wants to end the pollution of bombing innocent people all over the world. I would say that being exploded is pretty bad for your health. Maybe he does care about people’s health.

    Societal action will only follow public opinion, combined with the wealth to achieve it. Voluntary interaction in a free society creates wealth. Your articles, removed from the intent of coercion and compulsion behind them, sway public opinion. So, keep writing, but don’t force your view of the world with violence (regulation).

    A clean earth, with prosperous and comfortable humans on it, can only happen with wealth created by the free market. If you suddenly impose and enforce your regulations on a relatively poor country, such as China, then millions of people will die because you prohibited the economic interaction that created the food, shelter, and clothing for those millions of people. So, go ahead, kill everyone you want to.

  25. Wow, are you really a law professor? You’re quite clueless about tort law. Of course people with health effects can sue. They already can. He’s not proposing any changes to tort law for “toxic torts” or anything of the like, he’s merely saying that when polluters damage property, it’s the government who steps in and goes after the polluter rather than the private property owner who was damaged.

    Also, your title suggests that being against the EPA means you’re an anti-environmental candidate. What has this or ANY federal bureaucracy done to protect the environment? If anything the polluters are the ones to draft the regulations of a centralized bureaucracy like the EPA.

    And what business does the federal government have in protecting the environment anyway? Nowhere does it have the power. The EPA isn’t constitutional. This power belongs to the states who all have some form of environmental protection agencies.

  26. This article is misleading. His official stance is that the states should govern environmental laws.

    Far better than an EPA that sues California to reduce their pollution requirements on cars.


  27. yawn, garbage article. First calm down and listen further to Dr. Paul. He simply states that the federal government has no authority and no desire (which should be obvious) to stop pollution. They are easily corrupt. These are state issues. Boom, problem solved. State laws would be more restrictive and therefore Dr. Paul is actually the BEST environmental candidate ever. Plus RON is embedded in enviRONment.

  28. But you can have state laws that can regulate pollution. For instance:

    In 2002, California passed the Clean Cars Law, the nation’s first binding limits on global warming pollution from tailpipes. The state’s cars are responsible for almost one third of its global warming pollution. Cutting tailpipe pollution is essential to meet the requirements set under California’s global warming law, AB32, the nation’s first statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions, passed in 2006.

    Thirteen states have since followed California’s lead and adopted the Clean Cars standards: Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. In 2004, the auto industry filed lawsuits in California and three other states to derail the law.

    A series of court victories in 2007 — including a landmark Supreme Court ruling affirming EPA’s power to address global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act — paved the way for putting the Clean Cars Law into effect.

    EPA prevents state from setting more rigorous standards

    But one hurdle remains. California may set more rigorous clean air standards than federal requirements, once the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants it a waiver to do so. In a surprising denial of both science and the law, EPA rejected the state’s request for a waiver. Before this denial, EPA had consistently and repeatedly granted California’s requests.

    So, yes you can have local regulation laws at a size and scope that fit and meet the populations needs instead of socking the whole nation with a set of regulations that don’t work.

    Please educate yourself and stop spreading false information.

  29. 1. Who says a tenant can’t sue? What does this have to do with property rights? If someone else’s negligence causes illness, they can sue them. To say that that is your justification for taking the fruits of my labor at gunpoint to then pay a bureaucrat to create regulations is really very poor logic.

    2. Your example of a big city is precisely an example of government failure, not of the free market. Where are the streets the dirtiest? In private communities, or in major urban areas where “public” space is owned by no one, and full of trash, potholes, filth, and neglect? That is NOT a free market – that is a failure of statism. In a true free market, those smoke-belching buses and trucks would not even be allowed on a private road if they fail to meet certain standards.

    3. That is just a repeat of your false logic in #1. Private property includes your own person and the right to be free of assault. However, the same rights should also extend to your home, land, car, and personal property. As long as you don’t deny someone else the same rights.

    4. Most of the lawsuits you mention are after the fact. In a free market, you can’t just pour chemicals into a stream without violating someone else’s property rights. The sudden mass of lawsuits are simply a pent-up demand from the LACK of a free market over many decades (if we ever had one to begin with). People can usually work things out if they are given the respect and rights they deserve.

    Those cable TV companies digging to lay cable? That’s YOUR property and YOUR sidewalk, so they would PAY YOU for the privilege of using YOUR property for their distribution. Power companies? Same thing. Those corporate monopolies would not survive in a free market, and neither would the pollution they cause.

  30. Environmental policy currently consists of polluters purchasing and negotiating the right to pollute with government (e.g. “carbon credits”). This system serves to protect polluters from claims by individuals where “acceptable” levels of environmental damage have been established.

    The idea of property rights as a basis for protecting the environment has never really been tried.

    To your points:

    1. You own your body. It is your property. If someone harms you, then you should have the right to be compensated for your injury.
    2. You sue the polluters one at a time.
    3. I don’t think Paul opposes injunctions against actions that pose an imminent threat to life, liberty or property.
    4. I don’t think we can foresee how such a system would manifest itself in the courts. In any case, I’m not inclined to dismiss a good principle because it seems impractical in the context of our current system. Our current system is broken and needs to be reformed.

  31. “Why just property owners? Why not other people with health effects? Is there some reason why a tenant with asthma can’t sue, but a company with paint damage can go to court? Because property values matter, but not human health?”

    You do realize that your body is your property, right?

  32. “This is more or less where the law stood 50 years ago”……are you seriously saying that more polution was created before 1960 than after???

    You have taken one broad statement from the Ron Paul website and call it a position??? Then argue that this one sentence doesnt answer every small detail. Do you think that any changes made would consist of one paragraph?

    Do I understand correctly that your position is that the ineffective EPA should continue exactly as it has done so far?

  33. More war and the real possibility for nuclear war is far worse for the environment than any “libertarian” policy. Ron Paul is the only candidate including President Obusha that doesnt have us going down that path. Your environmental concerns may be very real, but they are far from our biggest problem right now. Additionally, Dr. Paul is for giving power back to the states. We all know that if the EPA was eliminated in Washington that Cal/EPA would step right up and fill the void.

  34. 1. Private property applies to private individuals as well. So yes, that includes people with health effects.

    Health effects could be criminal, and criminal matters are held on the state level, except of course unless some state goes “sim city” crazy and tries to “export” their pollution across state lines(ie upwind or upstream).

    2. The defendants are the people, of which can include the city and state governments representing those people. In the case of a victim in which harm is done to them, then you begin to get into the criminal grounds.

    3. Again, a city or state can make the activities illegal. There are 3 levels of government in our country, each of them have their own responsibilities and duties. He is saying it’s not the role and job of the federal government to handle it.

    4. The same way they are handled now of course. Or is the argument here that the companies will keep polluting forever and just absorb the extra costs, and that they won’t be motivated to find solutions which do not pollute?

    We’ve never tried this approach, because when pollution and these things started we didn’t exactly know all the dangers.

    And why is the fact that we are talking about an on/off switch here not mentioned? While regulations actually legalize the pollution, while the health effects and liabilities are in many cases completely eliminated as long as they are “up to code”?

    Basically your argument is saying that you believe that unless the federal government does these things, then nobody will.

    Or how about when the government does things like that waste place in Nevada? Which they do not want, but the federal government is doing it anyway. Things like that would be prevented.

  35. You ask a very disingenuous question?

    1. Why just property owners? Why not other people with health effects? Is there some reason why a tenant with asthma can’t sue, but a company with paint damage can go to court? Because property values matter, but not human health?

    Ron Paul never took any of the above positions. Of course a tenant could sue. What ever made you think differently? There is nothing on Ron Paul’s website or in his position that suggests otherwise.

    2. Who would be the defendants? If you live in a big city, how do you sue all of the polluters for damage? Do you sue everyone who has a car or truck for contributing to air pollution? How do you pay for the expert witnesses and legal fees?

    Ron Paul is taking a position on a Federal Department. The states will all still have their own laws realtive to pollution. Who would be the defendants? The people who are committing illegal acts, same as now. Did you ever hear of a class action law suit? That is how you prosecute and pay for these kinds of issues.

    3. Why only damages? If he truly believed in property rights, he’d allow injunctions to stop the harm from continuing.

    Ron Paul never said anything about only collecting for damages. Why do you feel the need to make things up? He absolutely supports property rights and supports injunctions applied by a court or law.

    4. How would courts handle the immense body of litigation? The pollution suits would be the world’s biggest class actions, with millions of plaintiffs, swarms of defendants, huge fees for expert witnesses, etc. Is that really what conservatives want?

    I don’t think that is what would happen, but if it does, then yes, that is the way it should be done. This is by the rule of law. In the long run the results would be better for everyone. Better for our people and better for the environment.

  36. I am what most people would call an environmentalist, and I am supporting Ron Paul with all my might. The EPA is a corrupt and failed system. It is not the solution to out environmental woes and it needs to be scaled back immensely.

    I believe that class action suites should be perused for damages, but I am also hoping one day that corporation will be held accountable for harm done to people with criminal charges punishable with massive fines and cease order as well. Please keep in mind that this does not need to be done via a federal bureaucracy and just because someone doesn’t support the EPA it doesn’t mean that they are anti-environmental. It just means we need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot and find a better way.

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that is concerned with our individual rights and should not be turned down based on this issue.

  37. The current system doesn’t work very well either. The Goverment is the biggest polluter. Big Industries work with the government in order to gain permission to continue poluting.

    As an Individual, you own your body. If damaged by a polluter, you would have the same ability to claim as other property owners. How to pay for experts? Let your attorney pay with a contingent fee, or get many with similar claims to pool resources.

  38. The thing is, once government influence, which is influenced by the oil industries, is gone, states will be able to make their own laws and they can be much stricter than the current epa. If the epa was effective, there would not be a pollution issue. Ron Paul is the only reasonable candidate. He will fix the government so that problems can be effectively solved. He doesn’t have the best environmental ideas, but he will end the corruption and America’s part in the new world order. And that will get us on our way to free energy which already exists, but have been supressed, and he will end the suppression. I’m a true environmentalist, and I am voting for Ron Paul. I’ve always voted democratic, but Paul is America’s only hope.

  39. The old system lead to massive air and water pollution because the government allowed it on their property! Local governments like in Pittsburgh allowed (got paid by) factories to dump into the city’s riverways. The community got together because they were tired of the mess and cleaned up their city.

    We have our own stricter California EPA, and Ron Paul is all for that. He believes the federal EPA shouldn’t be interfering with the people’s decisions in each state.

  40. The corporations are allowed to pollute because the EPA has “acceptable guidelines.” Ron Paul doesn’t want these corporations to get a free pass by staying under the limit (that they influence by getting people into the EPA).

    Ron Paul would get rid of that legal leeway and encourage people to participate in getting the community to attack the polluters.

  41. The reason why regulation is choking our economy is not that they are forced to curb pollution and the like. Its the mountains of fees, taxes, red tape and bureaucracy that come with the regulations. Companies have to hire extra administrators and lawyers to keep up with ever changing regulation guidelines and pay for 3rd party inspections. This is what makes business too expensive here. A company would not (or would be smart not to) allow pollution simply because the cost of prevention is far more palatable than being sued by half the city.

    We have never had a true free market society in our lifetimes so there is nothing to compare what a free market would be like.

  42. “How would courts handle the immense body of litigation? The pollution suits would be the world’s biggest class actions, with millions of plaintiffs, swarms of defendants, huge fees for expert witnesses, etc. Is that really what conservatives want?”

    OH NO! How horrible, you mean it’ll suddenly become a headache for lawmakers and corporations to be held responsible for their actions!?

    Oh boo hoo…. I’m crying so hard for corporations that might actually learn that they’d better own their “poop”, as opposed to playing games with the American Government to get away with what is essentially the slow murder of the American people.

    Just imagine if BP during the oil spill was subjected to the above.

    Trillions of dollars in the hands of the people who suffered as opposed to the government? Bankruptcy for BP for it’s negligence? SOUNDS PRETTY GOOD TO ME.

  43. Obviously you haven’t read much about Ron Paul and obviously you would rather use an authoritarian approach (force and violence) to “solving” environmental problems.

  44. Who protected BP from lawsuit? The government!

    Who protected the mining companies from law suits? The government!

    Who protects drug companies from law suit? The government!

    Paul is right.

  45. Here’s a thought- your body is your property, genius!

    Some people will do anything to prevent liberty from being restored in our country. It is truly sad and pathetic.

  46. Your approach to reason makes your question an environmentalist fantasy. You forget that people choose to operate machines when they purchase them. If emissions was a major issue to many Americans it would show at purchasing time. Unfortunately it has not altered the machines we choose to purchase a whole lot. But when it does then the free market will have evolved and people through the choice of purchasing would have solved their own problem by choosing to buy more enviromental friendly machines.

  47. 1. It would not just be property owners. Looking at what he thinks to be the interpretation of the Constitution, if one harms another than someone is to be held liable. He addresses it from the standpoint of what the EPA often uses as their reasoning. So yes, an individual has rights too.

    2. You would have to prove “standing”. Good luck doing so on a car owner or many car owners. The point you make here is ridiculous.

    3. This would be the role of the judge. Just as in any judiciary system, the judge determines punishment.

    4. The first case in the supreme court under the Paul administration would determine the merit of any further action from plaintiffs. Use the tobacco industry as reference.

  48. I think we would see insurance step in. What a person would normally pay in taxes they could choose to (or opt out of) the purchase insurance directed at protection against pollution.

    His policy is directed at persons and property the protection of which is one of the very few legitimate functions of our government.

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