Elections

GOP platform: Environmental protection through private ownership

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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The Republican Party platform for 2012 advocates protecting the environment through private ownership rather than national rules based on “politicized central planning.”

“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,” the platform reads. “The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.”

Commenting on the merits of the policy of utilizing private ownership and more local control over natural resources, Jack Spencer, policy director for energy and environment at the conservative Heritage Foundation, agreed that this is a preferable approach.

“Private ownership is a better model for stewardship of the land and natural resources,” Spencer told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“It’s great policy to move away from the administrative state where the federal government is in control of more and more land and natural resources, and allowing for the proper stewardship which includes not only the protection and improvement of our natural resources and environment but also the development of them.”

The platform also suggests that Congress should see which of its massive land and water holdings would be better for private activities like ranching, mining, and forestry.

The recent oil and gas boom taking place in states like North Dakota, Alaska, and Texas has shown that states and private landowners are much more willing to develop natural resources on their lands, as opposed to the federal government.

Research from the Institute for Energy Research shows that oil and natural gas production has risen significantly on private and state lands over the past decade, while it has fallen on federal lands by more than 40 percent.

In terms of environmental stewardship, private companies have been used to manage public parks for decades. This could also be beneficial during a time when states need to shed nonessential services due to tight budgets. Recently, California turned over dozens of state parks to private companies and community groups in order to reduce the state’s budget deficit.

In an effort to further curb large-scale environmental regulations, the GOP platform also endorses requiring Congress to approve of any rule that’s projected to cost over $100 million before it can go into effect.

“Federal agencies charged with enforcing environmental laws must stop regulating beyond their authority. There is no place in regulatory agencies for activist regulators,” the platform concludes.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.