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The GOP platform and the environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | August 30, 2012

With some effort, I was able to find full text of the platform. Not surprisingly, the basic thrust is to relax limits on industry. The energy provisions correspond to Romney’s recent proclamations — more drilling in more places, less regulation of coal, etc. On the environment, the basic message is that current regulations are too strict, and that we shouldn’t expect any new regulations anytime soon.

A few interesting environmental points that are worth flagging:

  • “We . . . endorse legislation to require congressional approval before any rule projected to cost in excess of $100 million to American consumers can go into effect.”
  • “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.”
  • “We call for a moratorium on the development of any new major and costly regulations until a Republican Administration reviews existing rules to ensure that they have a sound basis in science and will be cost-effective.”
  • “Worst of all, over-regulation is a stealth tax on everyone as the costs of compliance with the whims of federal agencies are passed along to the consumers at the cost of $1.75 trillion a year.” As I and many others have written, this is a bogus figure.
  • “Constructive regulation should be a helpful guide, not a punitive threat.”
  • “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.”
  • “Legislation to restore the authority of States in environmental protection is essential.”
  • “We stand with growers and producers in defense of their water rights against attempts by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand jurisdiction over water, including water that is clearly not navigable.”

Probably the essence of the changes is contained in the platforms emphasis that we ” must balance economic development and private property rights” with “human health and safety.” Current regulation also strikes such a balance, but the platform obviously seeks to shift the balance much more concern with regulatory costs and the interests of property owners, and less toward health, safety, and other environmental values.

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

Comment to “The GOP platform and the environment


    Prof. Farber, this week it was announced by the National Snow and Ice Data Center that sea ice in the arctic is at a record low. As reported by the NYT:
    “Scientific forecasts based on computer modeling have long suggested that a time will come when the Arctic will be completely free of ice in the summer, perhaps by the middle of the century. This year’s prodigious melting is lending credibility to more pessimistic analyses that that moment may come much sooner, perhaps by the end of this decade.”

    Our worst cultural failure was reported in a most excellent Sept/Oct 2006 CALIFORNIA magazine feature story “Can We Adapt in Time” by Sandy Tolan with the concluding statement:
    “Whether resistance to global warming lies more in the hungers of American culture, or because our species is wired to ignore problems in some far-away future—this matters less now than it may have a few years ago, because the future has arrived.”

    Because of the above, totally unacceptable facts of life I most strongly urge UC scholars, especially those in Interdisciplinary Studies emphasizing social sciences, the humanities, and professional schools (like Berkeley J-school that participated in the 2006 CALIFORNIA “Global Warning” issue referenced above) and colleges to make a difference by educating voters during the 2012 election cycle on decision criteria for choosing candidates and deciding on issues.

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