Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants prospective voters for president who are environmentally-oriented to know he is on their side. He seeks this image to broaden his appeal for a 2016 White Houses bid, but his credibility is in question because of a dismal environmental record.
During a recent speech in left-leaning California, Paul tried to sweet talk the audience into acknowledging his "green" credentials. He assured them that "as a Conservative Libertarian Republican, I care as deeply about the environment as Democrats do."
To dispel any doubts, Paul waxed nostalgically about his love affair with the great outdoors.
"I bike, hike, and kayak," the senator trumpeted, "and I compost. I plant trees. In fact, I have a giant sequoia I'm trying to grow in Kentucky."
This is the same fellow who has gone on record stating "while environmental protection is important, it must be balanced with the constitutional right of landowners to do what they please with their own property."
News flash to Senator Paul. There is no absolute property right conferred by the Constitution. If there were, who knows how much of the nation's land mass would be permanently despoiled by cut and run developers solely out for a quick buck. It is why the nation is laced with constitutionally upheld zoning regulations, an arrangement one assumes is not particularly to Senator Paul's liking.
The senator may have a thing about sequoia trees, but he would turn the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into a toothless organization with no credible alternative to fill the regulatory void. On the floor of the Senate, Paul sought--unsuccessfully thank goodness--to substantially weaken the Clean Water Act, arguing it was too stringent and interfered with economic growth.
He has opposed any legislation to cope with global warming (of which he is skeptical), issuing a bizarre pronouncement that such measures "will create an army of EPA agents to raid homes to enforce compliance with energy efficiency standards."
Paul has voted to continue federal subsidies to the oil industry but opposes any equivalency for clean renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
The senator maintains that small government conservatism and environmental protection are not incompatible, and that is true. He omits the essential caveat, however, that the federal government needs to be integrally involved to lay down minimum uniform standards for the patchwork of state and local governments scattered across the land. Without such a referee, anarchy beckons.