For your liberty!
James Eyer
Candidate for U.S. Congress District 9

Talking Points: Environment


  • Price for many products and cost for many processes do not reflect harm caused because the product is used or because the process occurs. These "externalities" include harm due to reduced environmental quality such as increased health cost, reduced property value, reduced crop production, and degraded infrastructure.
  • Government laws and regulations often provide "liability shields" that specify "allowable" levels of environmental damage or that remove or limit otherwise normal legal liabilities for actual harm done.
  • Many (most?) environmental regulations and laws have built-in loopholes and special treatment for specific companies or industries, especially bigger ones with more influence.
  • Many billions in corporate welfare lead to environmental degradation and inefficient resource use, and make better alternatives less competitive. Types of corporate welfare include: tax deductions and credits, subsidies, cofunding, regulatory exemptions, liability shields and others.
  • Regulations that specify a specific way to reduce pollution may preclude superior solutions.
  • Our federal government is a very poor steward of the environment; perhaps the worst.


  • People or organizations whose pollution causes actual harm must be accountable for that harm.
  • Emphasize solutions that provide economically-sound, market-based financial incentives to use resources efficiently and to reduce pollution.
  • Emphasize private ownership to encourage good stewardship of resources because human nature leads people without a personal stake to use or manage resources poorly and/or to use them inefficiently.


  • Include cost for environmental externalities in prices. Establish that cost based on actual harm caused, using sound economics and science. All revenue must be used to offset other taxes.
  • Eliminate liability shields so polluters are held responsible (legally liable) for actual harm related to environmental externalities.
  • Eliminate legal and regulatory loop-holes and corporate welfare for polluters.
  • Use "output-based" regulations that are inclusive of all possible solutions.
  • Place greater emphasis on pricing and use fees, for infrastructure and resource use when there is infrastructure "congestion" or when resource use is high. Examples:

      1. congestion-based pricing for
        a) "slots" on freeways during rush hour,
        b) space in natural gas pipelines,
        c) capacity on heavily loaded electricity transmission lines.

      2. higher prices during periods when demand is high for
        a) water,
        b) natural gas fuel,
        c) electric energy.

  • Increase emphasis on private land trusts which provide a compelling alternative to government ownership of environmentally important land.
  • Use periodic reviews of environmental laws, regulations and programs to assess success, unintended consequences and the overall benefit/cost relationship, using specific criteria. Propose and seek indicated improvements.

Additional Reading

rev 2008-06-25