Ron Paul's Environmental Q&A

There has been a small debate on this blog about Ron Paul and his environmental policies. It all started when I created a post on the 2008 Candidates and their enviro-platforms. I neglected to include Paul, which drew criticism. So I searched his website for a description of his views on this subject and came up empty. The only information available was his voting record, which I posted. That was also criticised because Paul's votes can be misleading due to his Libertarian view of minimal government intervention. I did promise to continue searching for concrete descriptions of Paul's views and I have finally found what I was looking for.

The Internet environmental magazine Grist.com is interviewing each of the 2008 presidential candidates on their energy/environmental platform. They interviewed Ron Paul about a week ago. To read the full interview and hear a recorded portion of it, click HERE.

I have pasted below some highlights of the interview that I found interesting. I hope this clears up some of the confusion over where he stands on these issues.

  • "The government shouldn't be directing research and development because they are bound and determined to always misdirect money to political cronies. The government ends up subsidizing things like the corn industry to develop ethanol and it turns out that it's not economically feasible. So, my answer to energy is to let the market work."

  • "Private property owners have a much better record of taking care of the environment. If you look at the common ownership of the lands in the West, they're much more poorly treated than those that are privately owned. In a free-market system, nobody is permitted to pollute their neighbor's private property -- water, air, or land. It is very strict."

  • "Certainly, any time there's injury to another person, another person's land, or another person's environment, there's [legal] recourse with the government. "

  • "The EPA assumes you might do something wrong; it's a bureaucratic, intrusive approach and it favors those who have political connections."

  • "When all forms of physical trespass, be that smoke, particulate matter, etc., are legally recognized for what they are -- a physical trespass upon the property and rights of another -- concerns about difficulty in suing the offending party will be largely diminished. When any such cases are known to be slam-dunk wins for the person whose property is being polluted, those doing the polluting will no longer persist in doing so. "

  • "My favorite thing is riding bicycles, and at home my hobby is raising tomatoes. I live on the San Bernard River in Texas and I belong to an environmental group that works very, very hard to protect the natural aspects of that river."

  • "I'm just always aware of doing anything damaging to the environment. I don't think I do anything that damages it at all. I don't ride my bike because I think I'm destroying the environment by driving my car; I ride it because it's a great way to be outdoors and enjoy the environment."


  1. In other words, he has thoughts on the environment, but no policy whatsoever except to do away with all government regulation.

    My sympathies to you for the "criticism" you received as a result of leaving out the Gospel of Ron Paul in your previous post; I can imagine how much fun that was, getting mobbed by angry trolls who want attention! ;-)

  2. Personal responsibility for each indiviual's own local piece of the world... what a novel (and CONSTITUTIONAL) idea!! Wouldn't it be great for each person to have the right to protect his or her own space from air pollution, water pollution, etc., without the federal government passing invasive and totalitarian laws that hurt everyone.., the responsible stewdard and the irresponsible alike. I think I might start listening to what Ron Paul has to say... he makes a lot of sense, and so does the United States Constitution. Thank you for giving this collection of quotes. it has been quite helpful.

  3. What a great post!

    Can this idea of suing based on private property damages really take hold?

    Wow! what an awesome idea! The polluters would be brought to their knees.
    Are there any of our guys with a similar plan?
    I don't think I could vote Rep. with out becoming ill on my ballot.

  4. to the last poster - I'm not sure if there are any Dems out there like Ron PAul, but you might like Mike Gravel. And so what if you have to vote for a Rep. if it means getting someone in office who won't (hopefully) be swayed by big business and who isn't afraid to speak truth? You can always register as a dem again after the election if its that big of a deal to you.

  5. Vote for what you feel is best for the country and what their campaign is about.. not based on what party they are!

  6. Thanks for the coverage of Ron Paul's environmental views. And my apologies for any uncivil behavior on the part of my fellow Ron Paul supporters.

  7. I think using private property laws is an incredibly novel way of protecting the environment. Just imagine if your community could file a class action lawsuit against an offending corporation. One thing that does concern me, however, is his support for offshore drilling and drilling in national wildlife reserves. I'm not sure how environmentally damaging these operations are in reality and what the cost-to-benefit ratio is for the American people, but at the moment it doesn't sit right with me. All in all, I like him as a candidate and I think he does care about the environment. It's certainly an issue he could give some more attention though.

  8. ppl are being morons. you can already sue if someone is polluting your property the problem is YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PROVE IT FOR GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION. i agree with ron paul that the epa and particularly the usdafs are horrible stewards of the environment. however, it is rather childish of ron to advocate eliminating them and hoping the free market will somehow work it out. it would be nice if everyone cared abou the environment and every company would spend a fortune on hazmat rather than just polluting the local water table.... SOMEONE'S PRAYING LORD KUMBAYA.. OH LORD KUMBAYA.

    ron paul is a fruitcake in every sense of the word. thank god i dont have to worry about him getting elected. he gives people who espouse libertarian ideas a bad name... but not libertarians cuz he is a SELLOUT republican.

  9. I live in the UK, but what I learned many years ago applies to everywhere. In this country we have proportional representation, therefore small parties have a chance in hell to get elected. Nevertheless, I went to see the Green Party candidate speak, and after the talk had a chat with him. He asked me if I was going to vote Green. I wanted so desperately to do it, but felt it was casting my vote into the wind. I told him I was probably going to vote strategically, i.e. for the lesser evil - Labour, as this was in the Thatcher days. He said something that has always stayed with me: Whoever gets in, its the Government.
    I don't think I ever voted on the ballot since, but every day I vote with my way of living. You have to be the change you wish to see. Its what you do or don't do, what you buy or don't buy.

  10. the problem is that paul oversimplifies the issues enormously. realistically, one company does not sue one company for one issue because a. the process is extremely slow and gradual b. infinitely many issues happen simultaneously (water pollution, co2 emissions, etc.) c. these issues happen to infinitely many companies (air pollution does not significantly hurt one company, but it hurts them a little all over the world) d. the cost of lawsuits and the cost of obtaining evidence would more than likely outweigh the benefit of attempting to sue someone in court and e. eventually businesses would meet mutually beneficial agreements where both parties refuse to sue each other to increase costs.

    those are the flaws i have thought of in the past 3 minutes. there are probably many more. please don't fall for this bullshit. the environment is worth more. if you're going to waste a vote, put it on nader, if not, vote obama.