"I believe that a lack of respect for property rights has led to many [environmental] problems."
The federal government has proven itself untrustworthy with environmental policy by facilitating polluters, subsidizing logging in the National Forests, and instituting one-size-fits-all approaches that too often discriminate against those they are intended to help.
The key to sound environmental policy is respect for private property rights. The strict enforcement of property rights corrects environmental wrongs while increasing the cost of polluting.
In a free market, no one is allowed to pollute his neighbor's land, air, or water. If your property is being damaged, you have every right to sue the polluter, and government should protect that right. After paying damages, the polluter's production and sale costs rise, making it unprofitable to continue doing business the same way. Currently, preemptive regulations and pay-to-pollute schemes favor those wealthy enough to perform the regulatory tap dance, while those who own the polluted land rarely receive a quick or just resolution to their problems.
In Congress, I have followed a constitutional approach to environmental action:
* I consistently vote against using tax dollars to subsidize logging in National Forests.
* I am a co-sponsor of legislation designed to encourage the development of alternative and sustainable energy. H.R. 550 extends the investment tax credit to solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property, and H.R. 1772 provides tax credits for the installation of wind energy property.
* Taxpayers for Common Sense named me a "Treasury Guardian" for my work against environmentally-harmful government spending and corporate welfare.
* I am a member of the Congressional Green Scissors Coalition, a bipartisan caucus devoted to ending taxpayer subsidies of projects that harm the environment for the benefit of special interests.
Individuals, businesses, localities, and states must be free to negotiate environmental standards. Those who depend on the land for their health and livelihood have the greatest incentive to be responsible stewards.