TPPF expert contributes to Heritage Foundation report on environmental conservation

Kathleen Hartnett White pens chapter on “Clean Air Through Liberty”

AUSTIN – Kathleen Hartnett White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, is a contributing author to a new report, Environmental Conservation: Eight Principles of the American Conservation Ethic, published last Friday by the Heritage Foundation.

White’s chapter, “Clean Air Through Liberty,” argues for major reform of the federal Clean Air Act to reorient federal air quality policy so that it provides cost-efficient solutions to genuine environmental challenges.

“After 40 years of air quality management under the Clean Air Act, federal policies must reflect the dramatic improvement in our nation’s air-a condition quite different from when it was enacted,” White said. “Congress should reclaim its constitutional authority to make major policy decisions about air quality, and forestall the unnecessary economic and human damage already done by the EPA.”

White’s chapter recommends the following reforms of the Clean Air Act:

·         Restore congressional authority and accountability. Policy decisions should be made by elected officials rather than unaccountable bureaucrats.

·         Restore state authority. States should have free rein to develop their own means to achieve federal air quality standards, so long as the federal standards are met.

·         Restore objective, rigorous, and transparent science. When developed an applied by a government body, science is easily manipulated to justify a predetermined policy preference.

·         Encourage adoption of multi-pollutant strategies by the states. A single, flexible management plan with integrated strategies to reduce multi-pollutants could facilitate cost-effective results.

“Harsh criticism of the current EPA’s administration of the Clean Air Act in no way implies a rollback of meaningful environmental protections,” White wrote. “The reforms I recommend would support more effective, efficient, and meaningful management of air quality.”

The Heritage report articulates eight fundamental principles for conservative, free market, meaningful environmental policies. Rather than simply providing piecemeal criticism of existing environmental law and regulations, the report makes the positive case for a free-market approach to environmental protection and grounds this case in bedrock conservative and free-market principles.

Kathleen Hartnett White is director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. She was commissioner and chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2007.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.

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