Friday, August 12, 2011

Should We Require Scrubbers for the Republican Presidential Candidates' Positions on Pollution and EPA?

During last night’s Republican Debate, Jon Huntsman called for EPA’s “regulatory reign of terror” to be brought to an end.  And, I had to remind myself that this was coming from the moderate in the debate.  To be clear, he is just the latest of the Republican candidates to condemn EPA and not the most extreme.

Of course in the last debate, Michele Bachmann called for EPA to be abolished and labeled it the “job-killing organization of America.”  More recently, she also pledged that if elected, she would have EPA’s “doors locked and lights turned off.”  Seemingly, she has tried to make this one of her major issues, but others are not so willing to keep this position to herself.

Newt Gingrich has called EPa a“fundamental threat to freedom in this country” and accused it of being “anti-American jobs, anti-American business, anti-state government, anti-local control.”

In his first major speech, in which he laid out his domestic agenda, Tim Pawlenty has said, “We need less EPA monitoring of our economy. And more monitoring of EPA’s affects on our freedom.”

Ron Paul has said that we do not need EPA and has alleged that it uses an “intrusive approach and it favors those who have political connections.”  He has also said, however, that abolishing it is not one of his higher priorities, though he is not opposed to it.

Herman Cain has promised if elected that he would “create a panel of oil and gas officials to instruct the agency in overhauling its permitting program” and says that eliminating its permitting programs “would be an option.”

While to my knowledge Mitt Romney has avoided such fiery language/positions, he has criticized EPA for attempting to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  In the same interaction, however, he did support other aspects of EPA’s mission.

Soon-to-announce candidate, Rick Perry has said that he prays for the President every day and also prays that “his EPA back down these regulations that are causing businesses to hesitate to spend money.”  So it seems, once he is in the race, we will be hearing more from him on this topic.

Perhaps, these positions are more about trying to win votes from those who make their voices heard in state caucuses and primaries or those who donate to candidates.  Perhaps, this is just cheap talk. 

Granted, some candidates have taken more extreme positions than others.  However, it turns out that one of these candidates becomes President, let’s hope that he or she is just blowing smoke about EPA and the regulation of pollution.  If not, we should prepare ourselves for air filled with smoke and other pollutants if these candidates get their way.

-- Brigham Daniels

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/2011/08/should-we-require-scrubbers-for-the-republican-candidates-positions-on-pollution-and-epa.html

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Comments

Agreed. That anyone would just blatantly attack an entire agency across the board is baffling and stupid. Then again, look at the Tea Party. They have no idea how crucial of a role the government plays in their daily lives. Their approach is like trying to abolish seat belts because it takes you too much time to buckle up before getting on your way. These candidates don't realize that while the EPA may be a pain and hindrance on rampant economic development, it is a very necessary safety measure to ensure that in our rush to exploit we save some resources and clean air for our children.

Posted by: LVP | Aug 16, 2011 8:38:16 AM

Sara, you ask a great question. I do not know the answer though.

In my mind, there is a trade off between jobs and the environment in many instances. The fact that somebody chooses jobs rather than environment is not a problem for me.

What I do find disturbing though is the extent to which EPA is painted as a job-killing, anti-freedom bureaucracy. Reality is much more nuanced. That seems to be lost on many of the participants of last night's debate who have been seemingly looking for soundbites more than solutions.

Posted by: Brigham | Aug 12, 2011 1:45:30 PM

Has anyone done a study showing how many jobs the EPA actually creates, not only through direct hires, but also through the many private firms that work on regulatory issues from a legal, scientific, or engineering perspective? I'd be curious to see, and it'd make some nice fodder for reply!

Posted by: Sara C. | Aug 12, 2011 9:31:11 AM

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