Too Much Regulation

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: Do we have too many rules? Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis recently took part in one of William F. Buckley's "Firing Line" debates to consider that question.

My side included senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming and Dr. Wendy Gramm, a former Bush administration official. Naturally, I think we won, because we had common sense on our side.

The question was this: do environmental rules like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water and Air Acts, and similar laws do more harm than good?

We all want to preserve the environment, but we've chosen the most expensive, ineffective and intrusive method that tramples the constitutional rights of property owners.

Let's say a rare bird is sighted on your land. The Endangered Species Act forbids you from developing the land. And you won't be compensated for its loss.

So what happens? Land owners destroy habitat rather than lose the land's value. EPA punishes them for have one rare bird or animal or insect when it ought to encourage them to have many.

And if the property owner winds up in court he's in real trouble. In ordinary criminal cases, the state has to prove the defendant intended to violate the law. But that safeguard doesn't exist in environmental cases.

We're giving control of welfare back to the states because we believe local control is more efficient and knowledgeable. Doesn't it make sense to do the same with environmental rules? Local control and sensible cost-benefit analysis will be good for property owners and for the environment.

Well, those are my ideas. And at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: Saturday, Pete du Pont has another reason why he thinks the Dole tax cut plan's a good idea. (repeat from Wednesday)