Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Republicans vs. the EPA - Part I

I read a post on a blog called Brute Reason listing the worst parts of the Texas Republican Party's platform, and the first thing on the list was a call to repeal the Endangered Species Act and abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This was not the first time I'd seen the EPA targeted in Republican rhetoric; actually, I seem to read something about how the EPA is too powerful*, too radical**, and ought either to have its influence greatly diminished or be dissolved outright coming from a prominent Republican on a regular basis!

I started to leave a comment to that effect on the other blogger's post, and decided to perform an exercise in just how mainstream this virulent anti-environmentalism is in the Republican Party.

Since Miriam's post was about a state party platform, I think I will start there as well.

Here's a list of all the states whose Republican party platforms include calls for the abolition of the EPA: 
Iowa (PDF - relevant quotes on page 5):
9.1 We support the pre-eminence of personal property rights and the freedom for individual property owners to manage their property above the protection of wildlife. We support maintaining an environmental policy that protects the rights of humans before animals, insects, and other creatures.
9.3 We call for closing government branches, offices, and agencies that strip us of economic prosperity in the name of saving the environment. We should eliminate policies and rules related to this.
We support eliminating the ... Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other bureaucracies that have consistently demonstrated wasteful spending and operational inefficiencies. We believe these functions, where needed, should be relegated to the States as defined by the Tenth Amendment.
Oklahoma (PDF - relevant quote on page 34):
...6. Abolishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, ... and distribution of [its] powers and responsibilities to state authority.
Texas (PDF - relevant quote at top of page 4):
Protection from Extreme Environmentalists - We strongly oppose all efforts of the extreme environmental groups that stymie legitimate business interests. We strongly oppose those efforts that attempt to use the environmental causes to purposefully disrupt and stop those interests within the oil and gas industry. We strongly support the immediate repeal of the Endangered Species Act. We strongly oppose the listing of the dune sage brush lizard as either a threatened or an endangered species. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished.
Wyoming (PDF - relevant quote on page 48):
Be It Further Resolved that the Wyoming Republican Party calls for elimination of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
... and here are all the states whose branches of the Republican Party have language in their platforms that, while not calling for the outright elimination of the EPA, seeks to restrict its  
California (PDF - relevant quotes on pages 1 and 4):
Government should create a favorable policy environment supportive of California's farmers and ranchers ... . California's approach, rather, has been one beset by over-regulation, environmental extremism, and restricted access to water, the agricultural sector's lifeblood.
We believe that we can have both a healthy economy and a healthy environment, and believe in environmental policies supported by sound science, innovation, new technologies and incentives rather than regulation, taxation and litigation. Environmental regulations must be balanced and tempered by the effect that they will have on workers and on the economy. We believe that the Kyoto Treaty is fundamentally flawed because ignores the fact that the largest source of greenhouse gas in the world is China, which is exempt from the requirements of Kyoto.
We believe that entrepreneurs, using technology, innovation and incentives, are more likely to solve environmental problems than bureaucrats. 
Idaho (PDF - relevant quotes pp. 6-7):
Sec. 1 We believe that it is ultimately the individual's responsibility to act as stewards of their environment. The quality of our natural environment should be protected, and enhanced, while allowing reasonable, orderly growth with emphasis on multiple uses, local control, and minimal government regulation. 
Sec. 2 We believe the administration of federal environmental policy must be modified. These policies must give equal consideration to potential human suffering caused by restriction or elimination of basic human needs such as jobs, energy and overall quality of life. We support federal and state measures to re-establish the primacy of state government for implementation of environmental policy. 
Sec. 3 We discourage international regulations on industry which attempt to halt the production of certain industrial byproducts. Instead, we encourage citizens to adopt buying habits that promote a clean earth.
Promote energy independence aggressively by removing the obstacles created by government to allow private development of our resources; natural gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power.
Missouri (PDF - relevant quotes pp. 4-5):
At a time when the state and federal economy is faltering, some in Washington have proposed extreme, job-killing measures to regulate carbon dioxide. While it is important to balance economic growth and the environment, these regulations, which would raise prices on every single person in the country, are a step too far.  
Therefore, the Missouri Republican Party SUPPORTS:
  • Efforts to prevent any state or federal cap & trade scheme from taking effect.
  • Efforts to prevent EPA from unilaterally regulating carbon dioxide.
  • Environmental regulation premised upon sound free market principles and elimination of environmental regulation that imposes excessive financial burdens for tenuous incremental benefit.
North Carolina (PDF - relevant quote bottom of page 6):
If regulation is needed to protect the environment, government should only proceed with evidence that the benefits warrant the cost. Humans are a critical component of the ecosystem. Regulations must ensure a balance between humans and the environment.
North Dakota (PDF, relevant quotes pp. 5-7, p.10, pp. 13-15):
RESOLUTION NUMBER 11: ENERGY INDUSTRY... BE IT RESOLVED: The North Dakota Republican Party supports a balanced approach to the environmental and economic issues which will provide resolution to emissions of all sources of green house gases; and  
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The North Dakota Republican Party opposes efforts like the Kyoto Protocol and legislative proposals such as McCain-Lieberman, Lieberman-Warner, Boxer-Sanders, Kerry-Snowe, Bingaman-Specter, and Feinstein-Carper that impose a cap and trade program that will adversely affect North Dakota's economy without balance to the environmental issues....RESOLUTION NUMBER 13: NATIONAL ENERGY SUPPLY STABILITYWHEREAS: The environmental impact of oil drilling and refineries can be reasonably controlled by modern technology; and  
WHEREAS: The United States needs increased supply of crude oil from North American sources....THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: The North Dakota Republican Party supports private industry building or expanding more oil refineries in North Dakota and in the nation to lower the cost of gas and reduce our dependence on foreign oil; and  
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The process for obtaining the permits or expand to build refineries should be changed in a manner that would speed the process; and 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The North Dakota Republican Party supports the drilling for oil off America's coasts and other places where it is now restricted....
RESOLUTION NUMBER 24: PROPERTY OWNERS' RIGHTS'WHEREAS: At the national level, some administrative rules and regulations promulgated to implement legislation, such as, but not limited to, "Swampbuster," the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act have usurped the rights of citizens to the beneficial use of private property without just compensation; and 
WHEREAS: As state agencies promulgate rules and regulations to implement state laws, they regularly affect the use of privately-held resources without due consideration of the economic impacts the rules and regulations impose on the owners of those resources; and 
WHEREAS: As governmental agencies (and the regulations they foster) have grown, private property rights have been diminished, and the operating costs of businesses forced to comply with such increased regulation have increased dramatically; and 
WHEREAS: The quality of life for all North Dakotans hinges on the state's businesses being allowed to compete without unnecessary and undue regulations; 
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the North Dakota Republican Party supports any legislation that prevents the taking of rights to the beneficial use of property by its owner without just and actual compensation....RESOLUTION NUMBER 32: OPPOSING DISCRETIONARY REGULATION OF CARBON DIOXIDE BY THE U.S. EPA... BE IT RESOLVED: That the North Dakota Republican Party opposes the delegated discretionary regulation of carbon dioxide by the U.S. EPA or any other agency, and supports that any restrictions on carbon dioxide should be directed only by the elected members of Congress....RESOLUTION NUMBER 35: OPPOSING THE EXPANSION OF FEDERAL CONTROL OVER WATERWHEREAS: The federalized control of "all" waters in the United States means centralized control of the most critical requirement for the sustenance of all life, including human life; 
WHEREAS: The federalized control of "all" water defines a jurisdiction so comprehensive as to constitute control of even ephemeral waters; 
WHEREAS: The management of land and non-navigable waters is fully integrated and cannot be separated, so that federalized control of "all" waters virtually constitutes total control of all agriculture, and all management or development of private land; 
WHEREAS: Therefore, federalized control of "all" waters constitutes nothing other than total federal control and jurisdiction over the water we drink, the production of the food we eat, the measures we undertake to protect or enhance our properties, and provides a tool so powerful as to create a risk of tyranny in its full application;...THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: The North Dakota Republican Party opposes any federal agency rules ... that may be proposed to broaden the authority to regulate water, and urges their immediate repeal ...
South Carolina (PDF, relevant quote on page 25):
1. Environmental risks/concerns must be faced accurately, neither exaggerated nor underestimated; environmental remediation must incorporate the concepts of cost/benefit, risk analysis, and public/private cooperation. 
2. Environmental progress is integrally related to economic development as economic growth generates the capital to pay for environmental gains and as environmental preservation creates an atmosphere conducive to a high quality of life and economic development. 
3. The right to own, use, and dispose of private property is a fundamental political tenet of all free nations. Property rights are not to be violated by the misuse or overuse of government regulation and should dictate due compensation when a taking occurs. 
4. The United States, in the exercise of her sovereignty, should not "ratify any treaty that moves environmental decisions beyond our democratic process and transfers beyond our shores authority over U.S. property" (1992 Republican National Platform).
Vermont Republicans believe we must value Vermont's economic environment with the same respect we value our natural environment. 
We believe we can solve our environmental problems more quickly and cost-effectively with innovation and new technology than with more litigation and more government regulation. 
We believe entrepreneurs are more likely to solve America's environmental problems than bureaucrats. 
We support measures to encourage businesses to voluntarily cut pollution.
(A note about the wording on some of these, particularly about striving for "balance" between the environment and the economy, or, more specifically, between a given regulation's benefit to the environment and the cost to industry of compliance with it: the EPA already factors such cost/benefit analyses into its recommendations, so what these stipulations are actually asking is that greater weight be given to the economic-impact side of the cost/benefit equation.)

I was going to have this all be one post, listing not only all the state Republican Party platforms with anti-EPA (or generically anti-environmental regulation) language but also every currently-serving US Senator, Representative, or state governor who has made anti-EPA pronouncements, or acted to abolish, defund, restrict the EPA or block its actions, but the list got so long, and it was taking so long to ferret them all out, that I decided to break it up in the interest of being able to post something this month. (Hyperbole, I hope).

As to this part of the list, I'm not sure whether I'm more relieved to see that my current state of residence is not on the list than I am mortified to see the state I was born in, and still consider my home state, right there at the top. I had thought better of Iowa.

*It's not

**Oh, how I wish


Anonymous said...

That a mainstream political party in the world's most powerful country could give voice to such piteously idiotic ideas and still manage to get more than half the population to vote for them is disturbing in th extreme.

And yes, the exact same comment can be copy-pasted to just about all aspects of the Republican platform.

Lindsay said...

I know --- this series of posts started out as an exercise in morbid curiosity, to see just how many of them seemed to think the EPA serves no useful purpose, or is actively detrimental to the country. I really didn't expect to find this many examples.

(The apparent inexhaustibility of the pool of anti-EPA utterances by Republicans is why I decided to make this a series in the first place).

Unknown said...

Hey! Thanks for the link.

Also, unrelated: would by any chance be interested in writing a guest post about Autism Speaks for my blog? There's a chapter/organization for it at my university and I'd really like my friends and readers to get some perspective on it. Email me at miriam[at]brutereason.net if you'd be up for it. :)