In the article “EPA: Green Gone Wild” I wrote:
Each of us has a personal responsibility to be prudent, productive and efficient stewards of the world’s natural resources. This includes conservation to temper our development and use. And it includes the common goals of preserving the environment and reducing pollution. Every political party agrees.
I wrote this because many on the left assume that the only two choices are to care about the environment or to not care about the environment. These are not the only two choices. Every political party cares about the environment. As I wrote, “Stewardship suggests limits on how people ought to rule over their environment. It is not a justification for bureaucrats’ limitless rule over people.”
Here are the 2012 party platforms on the environment:
We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.
James Madison said: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” (Federalist Papers #45) The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people (Amendment X).
It is our responsibility to be prudent, productive, and efficient stewards of God’s natural resources. In that role, we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply, and to replenish the earth and develop it (e.g., to turn deserts into farms and wastelands into groves). This requires a proper and continuing dynamic balance between development and conservation, between use and preservation.
In keeping with this requirement, we wholeheartedly support realistic efforts to preserve the environment and reduce pollution – air, water, and land. We reject, however, the argument of the perceived threat of man-made global warming which has been refuted by a large number of scientists. The globalists are using the global warming threat to gain more control via worldwide sustainable development.
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution limits the federal power of eminent domain solely to the purchase of private property with just compensation for public use, such as military reservations and government office buildings – not for public ownership, such as urban renewal, environmental protection, or historic preservation. Under no circumstances may the federal government take private property, by means of rules and regulations which preclude or substantially reduce the productive use of the property, even with just compensation.
We call for a return to the states and to the people all lands which are held by the federal government without authorization by the Constitution.
We also call for repeal of federal wetlands legislation and the federal Endangered Species Act. Moreover, we oppose any attempt to designate private or public property as United Nations World Heritage sites or Biosphere reserves. We call for an end to this United States participation in UN programs such as UNESCO, Man and the Biosphere, and the UN Council on Sustainable Development. We oppose environmental treaties and conventions such as the Biodiversity Treaty, the Convention on Climate Control, and Agenda 21, which destroy our sovereignty and right to private property.
Environment. Democrats are committed to protecting our natural resources while creating jobs, preserving habitats, and ensuring that future generations can enjoy our nation’s outdoor heritage. From investing in clean energy to protecting our air, land, and water, Democrats have made protecting the environment a top priority. Today we are responsibly developing our natural resources to create clean energy jobs here at home while encouraging conservation, reducing energy waste, and protecting the environment.
President Obama has taken the most significant strides in decades to cut pollution and advance public health—protecting our children and communities from harmful pollution by restoring and advancing safeguards for clean air and water and by working to reduce carbon pollution. Pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and mercury are a threat to human health, and Democrats will continue to stand up to polluters in the interest of environmental and public health.
We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation—an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits.
President Obama has been a leader on this issue. We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy, and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants. As we move towards lower carbon emissions, we will continue to support smart, energy efficient manufacturing. Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. Democrats will continue pursuing efforts to combat climate change at home as well, because reducing our emissions domestically—through regulation and market solutions—is necessary to continue being an international leader on this issue. We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice.
We are restoring treasured landscapes like the Great Lakes, the Florida Everglades, and local wilderness areas. We are working with Gulf Coast states to restore the Gulf and hold BP and other responsible parties accountable. Democrats will continue to work with local communities to conserve our publicly- owned lands and dramatically expand investments in conserving and restoring forests, grasslands, and wetlands across America for generations to come. We will ensure that our National Parks are protected while expanding opportunities for Americans to visit and experience these national treasures. Democrats will continue working to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, by supporting initiatives that restore our rivers, oceans, coasts, and watersheds. We will preserve landscapes and ecosystems and open more lands and waters for hunting, fishing, and recreation. This will bolster local economies and is good for communities today and for generations to come.
Our opponents have moved so far to the right as to doubt the science of climate change, advocate the selling of our federal lands, and threaten to roll back environmental protections that safeguard public health. Their leaders deny the benefits of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts—benefits like job creation, health, and the prevention of tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. They ignore the jobs that are created by promoting outdoor recreation, cleaning up our air, and promoting a healthy environment.
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.
The Green Party:
This is a small section of a much longer document. It could be argued that the Green Party’s entire platform is on environmentalism.
III. ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY
The human community is an element of the Earth community, not the other way around. All human endeavors are situated within the dynamics of the biosphere. If we wish to have sustainable institutions and enterprises, they must fit well with the processes of the Earth. The ideology of industrialism, in both capitalist and communist countries, insists that modern society lives on top of nature and should rightly use and despoil the rest of the natural world as we desire – because any loss of the ecosystems is merely an “externality” in economic thought and because any problems can be addressed later by a technological fix. We are now living through the painful consequences of that arrogant, ignorant perspective. Many of our children suffer from accumulations of mercury and other toxins in their neurological systems, environmentally related cancer is on the rise, and our air and water are increasingly polluted. Meanwhile, our ecosystems are being compromised by the spreading presence of genetically engineered organisms.
American Reform Party:
It is the responsibility of all people to be good stewards of the earth. We therefore support sensible, realistic and common sense policies for clean air, clean water, endangered species, land and water conservation.
Conserve open spaces for human enjoyment and natural habitats for wildlife. Safeguard state and national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, rivers, lakes, seashores, wetlands, wilderness areas, and fisheries.
Eliminate subsidies and impose fines on companies that pollute natural resources and threaten public health. Prevent dumping of toxic wastes and harmful chemicals into oceans and inland waterways.
Negotiate agreements with other nations to protect the global environment without imposing further taxation on business or individuals to administer the agreements.
Prevent or repeal the establishment of national Cap & Trade or similar type government run programs