It is not unusual for pundits and commentators to refer to Congressional legislators as ‘lawmakers‘ due to the very nature of the Constitutional mandate to ‘make laws‘ for the general welfare of the people. However, since Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Speaker John A. Boehner boasted that Republicans primary duty was not to make laws, but eliminate them for their wealthy donors’ benefit. Now, the sitting Senate Majority Leader has went a step farther and issued a call to governors to become ‘law breakers’ to benefit the fossil fuel industry that bought control of Congress for Republicans.
Ever since President Obama announced new EPA regulations reducing carbon emissions to combat the real and present danger of anthropogenic climate change, Republicans pledge to fight back and stop the EPA. Because any Republican legislation attempting to thwart the President’s climate change proposals will incur a painful presidential veto, Mitch McConnell is taking what is called an unprecedented step for a Senator and inciting state governors to defy the President in the Koch Congress’ stead.
Although not quite an open call to nullify a federal law, the Koch devotee is pushing governors to refuse to implement the Obama Administration’s climate change regulations. In the Lexington Kentucky Herald-Leader, McConnell wrote under an op-ed with a headline that read, “States should reject Obama mandate for clean-power regulations.”
In the article, McConnell resorted to a typically Republican tactic of lying and wrote that, “The Obama administration’s so-called ‘clean power’ regulation seeks to shut down more of America’s power generation under the guise of protecting the climate. Don’t be complicit in the administration’s attack on the middle class. Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement. Without your support, it won’t be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism. Refusing to go along at this time with such an extreme proposed regulation would give the courts time to figure out if it is even legal, and it would give Congress more time to fight back. We’re devising strategies now to do just that.”
McConnell knows Congress cannot stop the legal actions of the President according to the Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court, so he is urging state complicity in violating federal regulations to reduce emissions that are the greatest source of planet-warming pollution in the country. It is part of his promise to pay back the Koch brothers for making him Senate Majority Leader.
The new EPA rules should be finalized this summer and require, by federal law, for each state to submit a plan laying out how it intends to cut coal-fired plant pollution. If states refuse to comply, they will be liable to adhere to a one-size-fits-all national plan that may not take into account the specific needs of individual states. The Obama Administration hopes the regulations will push polluters to take actions to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they pour into the air, and hopefully hasten transformation of the energy economy away from dirty fossil fuels and toward renewable green sources such as wind and solar.
It is in no conceivable way part of the Koch brothers’ vision for America and they will spare no expense to see it does not happen. With their state legislative arms the State Policy Network (SPN), American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), they have every intention of blocking the regulations at the state level by tying up implementation of the regulations in the judicial system. In fact, with ALEC, SPN, and AFP working in concert with so-called “Dr. Evil” of anti-EPA notoriety, the Kochs intend on using the states to shut down the EPA’s enforcement authority well beyond implementing and enforcing the President’s Clean Air Act regulations; despite the CAA’s requirement that he do so.
Democrats said McConnell’s call for states not to prepare plans is unprecedented. However, there is an African American President and this is a GOP owned and operated by the dirty Koch fossil fuel industry that opposes anything Obama does; required by law or not. Under a Republican president’s Clean Air Act, the executive branch is required to issue carbon pollution rules and despite McConnell’s claim it is political extremism, it is a federal requirement that the Supreme Court has upheld several times.
According to the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment Committee, Barbara Boxer, “It’s unprecedented that a leader in the Senate would call on states to disobey the law, which has been upheld many times by the Supreme Court. I can’t recall a majority leader calling on states to disobey the law — and I’ve been here almost 24 years.” However, in those “almost 24 years” there was not an African American President or a majority leader and Congress owned by two billionaire fossil fuel magnates. Boxer should be well aware that the Koch brothers’ money has changed how America is governed and driven the Republican party to openly advocate breaking the law and blatantly campaigning against clean air as a matter of course. Although that was not always the case.
In 1988, following up on a Republican President’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, George H. W. Bush actually campaigned on clean air standards. In fact, it was during his presidency that there was a very substantive update to the Clean Air Act to protect the environment and unbelievably the American people’s health and well-being. While Bush was president the Senate passed and he signed an expansive Clean Air Act (CAA) update with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 89-11; including the ardent support from none other than today’s Koch acolyte Mitch McConnell. In voting for the CAA update, McConnell stated that, “I had to choose between cleaner air and the status quo. I chose cleaner air.”
It is likely that Kentucky residents, many of them spending a lifetime working in the coal mining industry, were grateful their Senator was advocating for their and their descendants’ health and well-being before he sold his allegiance to the Kochs. One cannot comprehend how McConnell would choose the status quo and more climate change damage and obviously dirty air, but it is McConnell and he did promise the Koch brothers he would ‘go after the federal government‘ and the EPA in particular. Apparently it is not enough for McConnell to expose Kentucky residents to the effects of climate change and hazardous air, he is actually calling for governors in all 50 states to disobey federal law and jeopardize their residents’ health.
It is bad enough that since Barack Obama has been President, several Republican-controlled states and congressional legislators have openly called for nullifying, disobeying, and even criminalizing enforcement of federal laws. But it is unprecedented for the Senate Majority Leader to issue in writing a call for all states to disobey federal law; particularly one the Supreme Court has upheld often, including as recently as June 2014 because it is required in an Act created and supported by Republican presidents and lawmakers. But things have changed since demi-god Reagan was president and particularly since Republican lawbreakers were wholly-owned and operated by dirty fossil fuel magnates the Koch brothers.