17 Mar 2000 March 17, 2000
The National Center for Public Policy Research
777 N. Capitol St., NE, Suite 803 * Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398 * Fax (301) 498-1301
E-Mail: [email protected]
* EPA Fines Businesses Because the Economy Grew
* Foreign Nations Gather Sensitive American Business Data Via Insecure EPA Website
* $45 Billion Bill Would Significantly Increase Federal Private Land Purchases
* Opponents Declare Victory Against Proposal to Use Tax Dollars to Build Coalition in Support of Global Warming Treaty Ratification
* Environmentalists Change Global Warming Strategy
* Biotechnology Faces Greater Regulation by Other Nations
Environmental Policy Task Force Meeting: Activities at the March Environmental Policy Task Force Meeting chaired by David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research ((202) 507-6398 or [email protected]).
EPA Fines Businesses Because the Economy Grew
Andrew Wheeler of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee discussed the committee’s agenda for this year. Wheeler also released a document Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) prepared listing, in a humorous vein, EPA Administrator Carol Browner’s major failures. For example, although President Clinton happily takes credit for the currently-strong economy, and said in his most recent State of the Union address that it is possible to grow the economy without hurting the environment, the EPA’s enforcement office has filed lawsuits against industry for Clean Air Permit violations, saying that 95% of companies have violated their permits. The evidence: The economy has grown, therefore, pollution must have increased. Also reviewed was Browner’s response to President Clinton’s 1993 announcement that the Superfund program is broken and that legislation is needed to fix it. Browner first stated, in 1995, that the President was in error and legislation wasn’t needed. Then in 1996 Browner took credit for all the cleanups of the Bush/Reagan years. Last year she began looking for excuses as to why cleanups have slowed during the 1990s. Wheeler also pointed out that EPA under Browner’s tenure settled major lawsuits filed against the EPA by the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, but has vowed to fight a state, a private group and a business lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Contact Andrew Wheeler at 202/224-0146.
Foreign Nations Gather Sensitive American Business Data Via Insecure EPA Website
Bonner Cohen of the Lexington Institute discussed political fallout following the General Accounting Office’s analysis that, of 24 federal web sites they investigated, the EPA’s was the least secure. This is critical because sensitive business information is loaded on the web site information valuable not only to a company’s business competitors, but to foreign nations competing with the United States. General Accounting Office investigators were able to access this ostensibly protected data without much trouble. Dxr. Cohen said that there have already been several instances in which foreign governments were able to access the sensitive data in the last few years. Contact Bonner Cohen at 703/522-5828 or [email protected].
$45 Billion Bill Would Significantly Increase Federal Private Land Purchases
Mike Hardiman of the American Land Rights Association updated the Task Force on the status of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). CARA, proposed by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), would significantly increase funding for federal purchases of private land, ostensibly to expand parks and wilderness. It would cost over $45 billion over 15 years. Hardiman reported his optimism that CARA can be stopped given the abbreviated legislative session and significant opposition to the bill. One element generating bipartisan criticism is dedication of approximately $1 billion annually to a fund from which the federal government would draw money for land purchases. This disturbs many in Congress because it removes power for land-purchase decisions from Congressional appropriators. Contact Mike Hardiman at 202/251-3473.
Opponents Declare Victory Against Proposal to Use Tax Dollars to Build Coalition in Support of Global Warming Treaty Ratification
Marlo Lewis of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee declared victory in the battle to stop Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)’s "Early Credit" legislation, a bill that would reward businesses that take early, voluntary steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation was designed to use government funds to build a business lobby in support of the Kyoto global warming treaty. National Center Vice President David Ridenour recently testified before the House critiquing this effort and questioning provisions in some of the early action proposals to transfer government money to private environmental groups. Given widespread opposition, Senator Lieberman announced he would not reintroduce the bill. Contact Marlo Lewis at 202/225-4407 or David Ridenour at (202) 507-6398 or [email protected]
Environmentalists Change Global Warming Strategy
Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) related observations on a March 3 Progressive Policy Institute global warming meeting. Attendees included the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Resources For The Future. Ebell reported environmentalists are shifting their legislative strategy from Lieberman’s abandoned "early credit" approach to a cap-and-trade program on greenhouse gas emissions. Although organizations differ on the details, the program would work by imposing a limit on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions a company could emit in a given year. Given that ratification of the Kyoto treaty is a distant prospect at best, environmentalists believe that it is politically possible to impose some sort of regulatory program limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Ebell also noted that the Norwegian government recently fell when it tried to enact legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ebell said this illustrates the political dangers to governments attempting to enact the sweeping greenhouse gas reductions mandated by the Kyoto treaty. Contact Myron Ebell at 202/331-1010 or [email protected]
Biotechnology Faces Greater Regulation by Other Nations
Greg Conko of CEI provided an update on the biotechnology debate. On the international front, nations can now attempt to impose tougher regulations on the food biotechnology trade despite World Trade Organization rules protecting such trade. Contact Greg Conko at 202/331-1010.