1976 Republican Platform: Environment and Natural Resources

A clean and healthy natural environment is the rightful heritage of every American. In order to preserve this heritage, we will provide for proper development of resources, safeguards for clean air and water, and protection and enhancement of our recreation and scenic areas.

As our environmental sophistication grows, we must more clearly define the role of the federal government in environmental protection.

We believe that it is a national responsibility to support scientific and technological research and development to identify environmental problems and arrive at solutions.

We are in complete accord with the recent Supreme Court decision on air pollution that allows the level of government closest to the problem and the solution to establish and apply appropriate air quality standards.

We are proud of the progress that the current Republican Administration has made toward bringing pollution of water, land and air under control. We will meet the challenges that remain by stepping up efforts to perfect our understanding of pollutants and the means for reducing their effects. Moreover, as the nation develops new energy sources and technologies, we must insure that they meet safe environmental standards.

We renew our commitments to the development of additional water supplies by desalinization, and to the more efficient use and re-use of waters currently available.

We are determined to preserve land use planning as a unique responsibility of state and local government.

We take particular pride in the expanded use of the National Park system in recent years, and will provide for continued improvement of the national parks and historic sites.

We support establishment of a presidential panel, including representatives of environmental groups, industry, the scientific community and the public to assist in the development of national priorities on environmental and energy issues. This panel will hear and consider alternative policy recommendations set forth by all of the interested groups, and then develop solutions that represent the overall public interest on environmental and energy matters.

One of this nation's greatest assets has been our abundant natural resources which have made possible our strong economic and strategic role in the world.

We still have a wealth of resources, but they are not of infinite quantity. We must recognize that our material blessings stem from what we grow in the soil, take from the sea, or extract from the ground. We have a responsibility to future generations to conserve our non-renewable natural resources. Consistent with our needs, conservation should remain our national policy.

The vast land holdings of the federal government -- approximately one-third of our nation's area -- are the lands from which much of our future production of minerals must come. Public lands must be maintained for multiple use management where such uses are compatible. Public land areas should not be closed to exploration for minerals or for mining without an overriding national interest.

We believe Americans want their resources developed properly, their environment kept clean and their recreational and scenic areas kept intact. We support appropriate measures to achieve these goals.

We also believe that Americans are realistic and recognize that the emphasis on environmental concerns must be brought into balance with the needs for industrial and economic growth so that we can continue to provide jobs for an ever-growing work force.

The United States possesses the most productive softwood forests in the world, as well as extensive hardwood forests. Demands for housing, fuel, paper, chemicals and a multitude of other such needs require that these renewable resources be managed wisely on both public and private forest lands -- not only to meet these needs, but also to provide for soil conservation, wildlife habitats and recreation.

Recognizing that timber is a uniquely renewable resource, we will use all scientifically sound means to maximize sustained yield, including clear-cutting and replanting where appropriate. We urge the Congress to strengthen the National Forest Service so that it can realize its potential in becoming an effective participant in the reforestation program.

We will support broader use of resource recovery and recycling processes through removal of economic disincentives caused by unnecessary government regulation.

One of the important issues at stake in the United Nations Law of the Sea Conference is access to the mineral resources in and beneath the sea. Technology, developed by United States industry, is at hand which can unlock resources of petroleum, manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper and other minerals. We will safeguard the national interest in development and use of these resources.

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