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1999 Ron Paul Chapter 31

Environmental Regulatory Issues

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22 April 1999
HON. RON PAUL
OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, April 22, 1999


1999 Ron Paul 31:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend the insight added to the policy debate on critical environmental regulatory issues by John McClaughry in an article he authored in yesterday’s Washington Times. Mr. McClaughry succinctly highlights the danger which occurs when, as happened in the United States in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, property rights are ignored in the name of “progress.”

1999 Ron Paul 31:2
Mr. McClaughry, president of Vermont’s Ethan Allen Institute, correctly explains that technological innovation is stunted when the legal system allows polluters to externalize their costs without allowing legal recourse by those whose property is polluted.

1999 Ron Paul 31:3
I commend the research of Mr. McClaughry and thank him for his important contribution to the policy debate regarding environmental regulation and recommend a careful reading of his article by everyone genuinely interested in both the proper moral and economic resolution of these issues.

1999 Ron Paul 31:4
CELEBRATING THE RESOURCEFUL EARTH
Tomorrow, many Americans will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. The event was created in 1970 to call attention to humankind’s despoliation of our planet. It’s a good time to see what 30 years of Earth Day enthusiasm has given us.

1999 Ron Paul 31:5
The environmental awareness stimulated by the first Earth Day has had many beneficial results. Thanks to citizen awareness and ensuing state and national legislation, today the air is much cleaner, the water far purer, and risk from toxic and hazardous wastes sharply reduced. Polluters have been made to pay for disposal costs previously imposed on the public. Private groups like the Nature Conservancy have purchased and conserved millions of acres of land and natural resources.

1999 Ron Paul 31:6
But — and it always seems there is a but — like every promising new movement, the people who became leaders of the environmental movement stimulated by Earth Day soon found they could increase their political power (and staff salaries) by constantly demanding more command and control regulation. That heavyhanded government response has increasingly surpassed the boundaries of science and reason and severely strained the good will of millions of Americans who had eagerly responded to the initial call to clean up and protect our planet.

1999 Ron Paul 31:7
Here are just some of the “achievements” of an environmental movement that has flourished by promoting fantastic enviro-scares, sending out millions of pieces of semihysterical direct mail fundraising letters, peddling junk science, and making ever-more-collusive legal deals.

1999 Ron Paul 31:8
A failed Endangered Species Act which, by substituting “ecosystem” control for species protection incentives, has caused thousands of landowners to drive off or exterminate the very species that were supposed to be protected.

1999 Ron Paul 31:9
A wetlands protection program that has gone from controlling real wetlands to regulating buffer zones around tiny “vernal pools” of spring snow melt, and even lands that have no water on them at all, but feature “hydric soils.”

1999 Ron Paul 31:10
An air quality program that denies permits to dry cleaning plants unless they can prove that their emissions will not cause 300,001 instead of the normal 300,000 cancer deaths among 1 million people who will live for 70 consecutive years next door to the plant.

1999 Ron Paul 31:11
A “superfund” bill which has sucked billions of dollars out of taxpayers to pay lawyers to pursue “potentially responsible parties” instead of actually cleaning up toxic waste sites.

1999 Ron Paul 31:12
An ozone depletion scare whose purported effect — increasing incidence of dangerous ultraviolet B at ground level — turned out to be unsupportable by evidence.

1999 Ron Paul 31:13
A global warming hysteria, based on speculative computer models instead of actual temperature data, to justify a treaty to impose federal and international taxes, rationing and prohibitions on all U.S. carbon-based energy sources.

1999 Ron Paul 31:14
Ludicrous requirements imposed on the nuclear energy industry, such as requiring massive concrete vaults for the storage of old coveralls and air filters whose radioactivity level a few feet from the container is less than the background radiation produced by ordinary Vermont granite.

1999 Ron Paul 31:15
Enforcing many of these unsupportable policies is a federal and state bureaucracy eager to deny defendants any semblance of fair play, secure sweetheart consent agreements, and measure their success by fines and jail time imposed — for example, on the Pennsylvania landowner who removed car bodies and old tires from a seasonal stream bed on his land without a federal permit (fined $300,000).

1999 Ron Paul 31:16
As Roger Marzulla, a former assistant U.S. attorney general for land and resources, recently put it, “Like the enchanted broomsticks in the story of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,’ the environmental enforcement program has gotten completely out of control.”

1999 Ron Paul 31:17
Fortunately, a common-sense, fair play, rights-respecting alternative environmental movement has begun to appear. On Earth Day 1999, its member groups — as many as a hundred state and national organizations — are celebrating “Resourceful Earth Day.” Their alternative is based on a remark made by Henry David Thoreau, who said, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”

1999 Ron Paul 31:18
The astonishing growth of science and technology in the past 30 years has proven over and over again that human ingenuity can and will rise to overcome every environmental challenge. Today’s energy sources are far cleaner and more efficient than those of 1970, and even more pollution-free new energy devices are emerging from laboratories. New cars today, fueled with improved gasoline, produce 2 percent of the pollution of 1970 cars. Cost-effective resource recovery of everything from aluminum to methane, has made giant strides. Microsensors, global positioning satellites, and tiny computers allow farmers to dispense just the right concentration of fertilizer on every square yard of a field.

1999 Ron Paul 31:19
The friends of the “Resourceful Earth” believe in progress, not just to make and consume more stuff, but to protect our Earth as well. The tide is with them, and as their creative optimism prevails the better off Mother Earth — and its people — will be.

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