Cato Institute on Environment



Minimal GMO labeling advances science & consumers

President Obama quietly signed legislation requiring special labeling for commercial foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)--plants and animals with desirable genetic traits that were directly implanted in a laboratory. Gene modification typically yields plants & animals that take less time to reach maturity, have greater resistance to drought or disease, or have other desirable traits.

Most of the foods that humans & animals have consumed for millennia have been genetically modified. Usually this was done through the unpredictable, haphazard technique of cross-fertilization, a technique whose development marked the dawn of agriculture. Yet the new law targets only the highly precise gene manipulations done in laboratories.

Anti-GMO activists oppose the new law because it preempts more rigorous regulation. And that's exactly what President Obama and Congress intended to do: they have helped consumers and advanced science, to the frustration of the anti-GMO crowd.

Source: Cato Institute 2015-16 voting recommendation on GMOs , Aug 1, 2016

End federal grants to reduce diesel emissions

Spending money is like mainlining heroin to politicians. It doesn't matter how often they promise to reform. They just can't quit. The federal government seeks to reduce diesel emissions, a worthy objective. However, noted GAO: "Fourteen grant and loan programs at the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency and three tax expenditures fund activities that have the effect of reducing mobile source diesel emissions; enhanced collaboration and performance measurement could improve these fragmented and overlapping programs."

EPA runs 37 laboratories housed in 170 buildings located in 30 cities. That agency concluded GAO "needs to revise its overall approach to managing its 37 laboratories to address potential overlap and fragmentation and more fully leverage its limited resources." The waste just keeps going on and on.

Source: Cato Institute 2015-16 voting recommendation on Diesel , Mar 12, 2012

Cato Institute on Endangered Species

Substantially restructure endangered species law

The effects on individual property owners should be sufficient witness to the injustice of the distribution of the private costs [of species recovery plans].

Federal endangered species legislation must be substantially restructured. Current law would lead to a progressive restriction on other federal activities & private land use, a spreading revolt of small property owners & local governments, & slower economic growth without any reason to expect an improved record of protecting endangered species.

Source: Cato Handbook for the 105th Congress , Jan 1, 1997

Cato Institute on Parks & Public Land

US government owns 1/3 of all land-privatize it

U.S. Government owns about 1/3 of all land in the U.S. Only a tiny fraction of the vast federal land holdings are of environmental or historical significance. Federal holdings that should be transferred to private ownership should include: non-environmentally sensitive federal lands, federal dams, federal oil reserves, public housing, and the federal helium reserve.
Source: Cato web site , Jul 2, 2000

Move public lands into private hands

Source: Policy Analysis No.63, “Privatize Federal Lands” , Nov 9, 1999

Cato Institute on Pollution

EPA embodies regulatory extremism

The EPA has long embodied the worst regulatory extremism found in the federal bureaucracy.

Eliminating successive amounts of emissions becomes ever more expensive. Americans are paying between $4 and $28 for every $1 in health benefits.

Demanding unreasonable emission cuts is unhealthy as well as expensive, because wasting money on regulations of marginal benefits diverts resources from a variety of product and technological advances, like pharmaceuticals, which would yield far greater benefits.

Source: Doug Dandow, “Regulators at EPA Running Amok” , Apr 4, 1997

Cato Institute on Population

There is no population problem

There is no population problem. Population growth is the result of the plunging death rate and increasing life expectancy worldwide. That is progress. The growth in human population has been more than met by increases in the production of food and other resources, including energy. Famine in the 20th century is a political rather than an ecological phenomenon. We are not running out of resources, and real prices of raw materials are lower than ever before. Population growth and economic growth are compatible. Between 1776 and 1975, while the world’s population increased six fold, real gross world product rose about 80-fold. People are net resource producers. Countries are not poor because their populations are growing. England, U.S., Hong Kong, and others became rich during unprecedented growth in population. The most densely populated nations are among the richest.
Source: Testimony to Congress on S.10290 by Sheldon Richman , Jul 20, 1995

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Environment.
  • Click here for a profile of Cato Institute.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Cato Institute.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Cato Institute.
Other pundits on Environment: Cato Institute on other issues:

Opinion Leaders on the Right:
Cato Institute
Milton Friedman (Nobel Economist)
Rush Limbaugh (Radio Talk Show Host)
Ayn Rand (Author and Philosopher)
Heritage Foundation (Think Tank)
Libertarian Party
Republican Party
Ronald Reagan(President,1981-1989)
Joe Scarborough (Former Congressman; Radio Host)

Opinion Leaders on the Left:
American Civil Liberties Union
Democratic Party
Noam Chomsky (Author and Philosopher)
Green Party
Arianna Huffington (Internet Columnist)
Robert Reich (Professor and Columnist)
Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks)
John F. Kennedy(President,1961-1963)
Sierra Club
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Page last updated: Apr 30, 2021