Newt Gingrich on Environment
Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House
GINGRICH: If you look at the EPA's record, it is increasingly radical, it's increasingly imperious, it doesn't cooperate, it doesn't collaborate, and it doesn't take into account economics. In Iowa they had a dust regulation under way because they control particulate matter. They were worried that the plowing of a cornfield would lead dust to go to another farmer's cornfield, and they were planning to issue a regulation. In Arizona, they suggested that maybe if they watered down the earth, they wouldn't have these dust storms. And people said to them, "You know, the reason it's called a desert is there's no water." Now, this is an agency out of touch with reality, which I believe is incorrigible, and you need a new agency that is practical, has common sense, uses economic factors, and in the case of pollution actually incentivizes change, doesn't just punish it.
Now a new Environmental Solutions Agency, I believe, would do a better job of both protecting the environment and the economy. The principles are straightforward, localism when possible. I believe that incentives, innovators, and entrepreneurs will solve environmental problems, and improve the environment better than the bureaucrats, regulators and litigators.
The new Environmental Solutions Agency should see communities, states, and industries as partners, not adversaries in solving problems when one approaches. The Environmental Solutions Agency should look for new science, new technologies, and new approaches to get more energy, more jobs, and a better environment simultaneously.
Rejecting the sanctity of private property, the secular-socialist model has no problem with a city council or Washington bureaucrat taking your property and giving it to someone else. It has presided over a steady decline in private property rights over the last generation, highlighted by the tragic "Kelo vs. City of New London" case, in which the Supreme Court unconsciously ruled that private property can be confiscated from individuals and given to private developers if, in the judgment of local, state, or federal bureaucrats, doing so would aid economic growth and raise tax revenues.
Reasserting private property right will be deeply resisted by every local and federal bureaucrat and every judge who likes having the power to use your property to enrich someone else. And it will be opposed by every environmental group eager to tell you what you can and cannot do with your own property.
Green conservatives are political active in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom among other nations. When we first applied the term in U.S. politics, we defined green conservatism as: "An optimistic, positive, science and technology-based, entrepreneurial, market-oriented, incentive-led, conservative environmentalism that creates more solutions faster and that will result in more biodiversity with less pollution and a safer planet."
Entrepreneurial environmentalists are the new agents of change on the frontlines of a creative environmental movement. Government's role, rather than to dictate it, is to incentivize.
The Big Dig highway project was the most expansive such project in U.S history. The initial price tag was $2.6 billion (in 1982 dollars), and it was supposed to be completed in seven years. From the start, it was plagued by leaks, falling debris, delays, and other problems linked to faulty construction. On July 10, 2006, a woman was killed by falling concrete in a connector tunnel. In 2008, the "Boston Globe" reported that the Big Dig's total cost would hit an astounding $22 billion and will not be paid off until 2038.
That sounds disastrous--and it is. The Big Dig was a classic pork barrel project, with weak oversight, no incentives for achievement, and no innovation in management. But that's the way government programs usually work. That's why we need real change for a smarter, more efficient government.
In every instance the danger was apocalyptic, science and technology were major threats, and the free market was hazardous. Big government, big regulation, centralized bureaucratic controls, and higher taxes were the solution.
Former Vice President Al Gore wrote in his 1992 book "Earth in the Balance", "We have tilted so far toward individual rights and so far away from any sense of obligation that it is now difficult to muster an adequate defense of any rights vested in the community at large or the nation--much less rights properly vested in all humankind or in posterity."
The danger here is that private property rights & individual liberty could be taken away in favor of some collectivist & non-democratic elite's interpretation of what is needed. The level of power that this would give to international bureaucrats is almost beyond belief.
Gingrich made plain in a recent interview: "We're going to try to write [an Endangered Species Act] that's economically rational and that protects species. The problem now is that the environmental movement is dominated by lawyers and bureaucrats, and it's a front for anti-free-enterprisers who use protecting species as a device to stop development. The question is, do you spend $300 million to protect one species or do you spend that money to protect 30 species?"
Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to publish a proposed list of at least 15 contaminants that may occur in public water systems and that are not currently subject to EPA regulation. Provides for proposed lists of at least 12 additional contaminants every four years. (Current law requires EPA to regulate 25 contaminants every three years.) Bases the determination to regulate a contaminant on findings that:
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