Heritage Foundation on Environment
The House should not rubber stamp the Senate bill. It could revert to its previous position as put forward in H.R. 1599, or it could amend the Senate bill to allow Vermont to impose its restrictive labeling mandate, but prohibit the state from regulating out-of-state food manufacturers engaged in interstate commerce (in-state businesses, such as retailers, could still inform consumers about food products coming from outside the state). Whatever Congress chooses to do, instituting a new, sweeping, federal mandate that isn't based on proven science shouldn't even be an option.
Highlighting the disconnect between big-government policies that restrict economic growth, and the reality that economic prosperity and environmental protection go hand-in-hand, is key to making further environmental improvements and respecting property rights and individual freedom. Today, the greatest opportunities for environmental progress lie in protecting and extending private property rights and enabling market innovations.
As Paul Larkin of the Heritage Foundation explains, "The Lacey Act would not raise concern if the only penalty were a civil fine, but the law authorizes up to one year's imprisonment for every violation of the act." Notably, the original Lacey Act of 1900 contained a penalty "not exceeding $200," and there was no provision imposing jail or prison time.
As the Heritage Foundation notes, the Lacey Act in fact "violates one of the fundamental tenets of Anglo-American common law: that 'men of common intelligence' must be able to understand what a law means.. The criminal law must be clear not to the average lawyer, but to the average PERSON. Even if there were lawyers who could readily answer intricate questions of foreign law--and do so for free--the criminal law is held to a higher standard\."
Congressional Summary: Extends through 2017 the allocations to carry out approved wetlands conservation projects.
Proponent's argument for bill:(US Fish and Wildlife Service statement on NAWCA): The North American Wetlands Conservation Act of 1989 provides matching grants to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the US, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife. The Standard Grants Program supports projects that involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats. The Small Grants Program supports the same type of projects but project activities are usually smaller in scope, [under] $75,000.
Opponent's argument against bill: (Heritage Foundation 2008 statement on wetlands enforcement): The 2006 Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos v. US restricts the EPA from setting a strict and expansive definition on what classifies as a wetland and what can and can't be regulated. The EPA defines wetlands as "including swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas", but it is more complicated than that. For instance, in the Rapanos case, Rapanos' land was 20 miles away from navigable water, but under the EPA's unrestrained definition, the term "navigable water" was also broadly defined. Having such an expansive definition would allow the EPA to run wild with environmental regulation. A less expansive definition may beget more uncertainty as to how the EPA should regulate wetlands, but it will also lead to more careful deliberation rather than unwarranted regulations.
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Opinion Leaders on the Right:
Milton Friedman (Nobel Economist)
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Ayn Rand (Author and Philosopher)
Heritage Foundation (Think Tank)
Joe Scarborough (Former Congressman; Radio Host)
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American Civil Liberties Union
Noam Chomsky (Author and Philosopher)
Arianna Huffington (Internet Columnist)
Robert Reich (Professor and Columnist)
Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks)
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