Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

The GOP platform and the environment

By Dan Farber

With some effort, I was able to findfull text of the platform. Not surprisingly, the basic thrust is to relax limits on industry. The energy provisions correspond to Romneys 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 shouldnt 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 nations 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 governments 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.