Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP platform proposes turning EPA into a commission; sue & settle; land transfers

The Republican Platform 2016 offers a fresh plan for an old GOP target: it calls for converting the EPA into a bipartisan commission. As Pro's Alex Guillén writes, the platform says that air and water has been getting cleaner over the last few decades, and that trend will continue with no further regulatory action. Republicans are proposing a "modern approach to environmentalism ... We propose to shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states and to transform the EPA into an independent bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with structural safeguards against politicized science."  Stopping work on climate change: The platform also calls for an end to most of the Obama administration's work on curbing climate change. It demands an "immediate halt" to funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the Green Climate Fund, which is intended to help poorer nations stave off the effects of climate change. The platform opposes "any carbon tax," and it says the party "will do away" with the Clean Power Plan. It also dings renewables, notably leaving solar and wind out of a key sentence: "We support the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower." Wind and solar get the party's backing only when funded through private capital. Ending 'sue and settle': The platform also calls for the end of what it calls the practice of "sue-and-settle" litigation, which is when "environmental groups sue federal agencies whose officials are complicit in the litigation so that, with the taxpayers excluded, both parties can reach agreement behind closed doors. That deceit betrays the public’s trust; it will no longer be tolerated." The lawsuits are typically brought by environmental and public health groups to force the agency to meet statutory deadlines. And so much more: Republicans also call for a streamlining of permitting for power transmission lines, and they'd like to revise the National Environmental Policy Act, the law that requires environmental reviews for those projects. And the platform seeks to drastically reduce federal property holdings, calling for transferring "certain federally owned land" to the states...more

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