Steve Forbes on Environment

2000 Republican Primary Candidate for President


Focus on science and practicality, not lawyers and fashion

Q: Do you think tougher laws are needed to protect our environment? A: We all want a better quality of life, cleaner air, purer water and the like. The technology is there to do it. Unfortunately, this administration’s been wasting considerable resources on junk science, using resources for unproductive uses. They also go for these fashionable things that have no real proof in science, lasting proof, such as global warming. Take a practical approach. Toxic waste dumps, for example, just get rid of them. Don’t let the lawyers get involved. Sixty percent of our money in toxic waste dumps go for lawyers.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa , Jan 16, 2000

Protect environment while safeguarding property rights

As we go into a new century and a new economy, we must be mindful of the enormous responsibility we have to be good stewards of the air, land, water, and wildlife with which we have been blessed. At the same time, we must safeguard the property rights of farmers, ranchers, families, and business owners. We must guard against the overreaching hand of big government trying to take away our freedom. And we must always protect the environment in a manner consistent with our values.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 113-4 , Nov 9, 1999

Rely less on Washington & more on economics & communities

We need to stay focused on improving the quality of our air, land, water, and wildlife. The question is: What’s the best way to move forward? The answer is to rely less on coercive, top-down, Washington-knows-best bureaucracies and regulatory straightjackets & to rely more on an approach that is consistent with our values of individual freedom, personal responsibility, and local & community control. That means emphasizing private stewardship, market-based incentives. & cost-benefit analyses.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 122 , Nov 9, 1999

Superfund is counter-productive & wastes money

Washington’s counter-productive, top-down approach to the environment [is shown in] the Superfund program. It is a bureaucratic disaster. Cleaning up the average hazardous waste site can take 10-15 years and cost $25 million. Why? Because the Superfund program is being run by politicians & bureaucrats rather than local experts and community leaders. Much of the money, therefore, is being spent on greedy trial lawyers, reams of paperwork, and overhead costs, rather than on actual cleanup expenses.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 123-4 , Nov 9, 1999

Replace command-and-control with New Economy methods

I believe the key [to environmental improvement] is finding an approach that is consistent with our values, one that relies less on the old, Soviet-style command and control rules that politicians so love, and more on the spirit of our New Economy - individual freedom, personal responsibility, technological innovation, market-based incentives, and real public accountability.
Source: Steve Forbes 2000 Online HQ, “New Birth of Freedom” , Aug 19, 1999

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