This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
Entry 43S Current Event
According to the New York Times on June 10, 2010 (full article available on-line)
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday defeated a Republican-led effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from curbing greenhouse gases as lawmakers road-tested arguments for a future fight over climate change legislation.
The Senate voted 53-47 to reject an attempt by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, to block the E.P.A. from imposing new limits on carbon emissions based on its 2009 finding that such gases from industry, vehicles and other sources represent a threat to human health and the environment.
Ms. Murkowski and others, including six Democrats, contended that the E.P.A. was engaging in a bureaucratic power grab and usurping Congressional authority with regulations that would stifle the economy and kill jobs.
“The sweeping powers being pursued by the E.P.A. are the worst possible option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ms. Murkowski, who tried to thwart the agency’s action using a rarely employed procedure called a resolution of disapproval.
The resolution of disapproval, created in a 1996 law, is a vehicle to allow Congress to overturn an executive branch action and is not subject to filibuster in the Senate. It is seldom used, however, due to the likelihood of a veto.
Democratic opponents of the Murkowski proposal said its backers were protecting oil companies and other industrial interests at the expense of public welfare and were ignoring science that substantiated the hazards of greenhouse gas emissions. They said Ms. Murkowski and her allies wanted to prevent the E.P.A. from taking action while simultaneously stalling Congressional action, essentially protecting the status quo.
Supporters of the plan to block the E.P.A. said they were trying to stop a backdoor attempt by the Obama administration to regulate carbon emissions without waiting for Congress to weigh in. They said the E.P.A. approach would produce little environmental reward while putting the United States at a severe disadvantage to nations that were not imposing such controls on their own industries.
Abuse of the Clean Air Act vs. the people
The Constitution, Amendment 10
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
“There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person."
--Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
We the People:
Only Congress, (not the executive branch) has the authority to define a pollutant through law. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.gov) website, “The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 List of Hazardous Air Pollutants” (http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/orig189.html ), carbon dioxide is not a listed pollutant. So the executive branch, which is responsible for law enforcement, is violating a law. And the peoples’ house, the House of Representatives is silent; as the states’ house, the Senate, blocks this challenge.