- Reason Awakes -

Environmental Protection


Protection of the environment is a legitimate governmental responsibility. We support efforts to protect the environment that are justified on the basis of cost benefit analyses.

In general, we would like to see these policies implemented through market-oriented mechanisms such as taxes on pollutants. Any revenues raised from taxing pollutants should be offset by tax reductions elsewhere (except as noted in the section on "Taxationa and Spending; Debt and Deficit Reduction").


Environmental protection is not a hair shirt to be worn to demonstrate moral superiority. When the costs of environmental regulation exceed the benefits, we as a society need to accept a less than perfect outcome. This is particularly true in those areas where we are not likely to be able to have a positive impact given the multinational or global character of the problem. Efforts to protect the ozone layer made sense because we were able to get international cooperation. Efforts to control global carbon emissions by giving the U.S. EPA the power to regulate U.S. carbon emissions are foolish, unless they are part of a global solution.



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