House Speaker Newt Gingrich defended his record on environmental protection Wednesday and said the country must move toward “a new environmentalism” favoring incentives over regulatory edicts from Washington.
Gingrich rejected criticism that the House GOP leadership was bent on rolling back environmental regulations. But he said that too often his leadership team has focused “on process,” instead of why some environmental laws need to be changed.
Moderate Republicans in Congress in recent months have raised concerns that their party was being perceived by the public as seeking to destroy a quarter-century of environmental laws. Gingrich has sought to counter those concerns. Recently he created a special task force of lawmakers to address environmental issues.
The federal government should continue to set broad standards but leave up to states, businesses or citizens how those standards should be met to ensure protection of natural resources as well as clean water and air, Gingrich suggested in remarks to an environmental forum.