This week, as has been the case for many weeks/months of late, there was plenty for the political cartoonists to choose from. Recent Supreme Court rulings and Tuesday’s televised hearing of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to the January 6th committee are, naturally, the main topics and the cartoonists have done a great job showing us the drama and angst that defines our nation today. You won’t find much in the way of mirth, but there is a certain dark humour woven into it all. Please be sure to click on the link at the bottom of this post to see the rest of the cartoons! Thank you, TokyoSand, for finding some of the best ‘toons from this past dark week.
Tag Archives: West Virginia vs EPA
Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls …
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued yet another ruling that is devastating, to say the least. The news stories reported that this is a “serious blow to Biden’s climate agenda.” NO, my friends, this is a serious blow to the lives of every single person around the globe, today and forever. No, that is not hyperbole … that is FACT. I am left spluttering … not speechless, but so filled with words that I cannot corral them into a coherent post just yet. Fortunately, Robert Reich has no such problem …
The beginning of the end of regulation
The radical Supreme Court is giving the big business backers of the GOP exactly what they paid for
Today the Supreme Court – again, with the 6 Republican appointees on one side and the 3 Democratic appointees on the other — limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. This ruling deals a major blow to America’s (and the world’s) efforts to address climate change. Also — as with its decision reversing Roe v. Wade — today’s ruling has far larger implications than the EPA and the environment.
West Virginia v. EPA is the latest battle pitting America’s big businesses (in this case Big Oil) against the needs of average Americans. In this Supreme Court – containing three Trump appointees, two George W. Bush appointees, and one George H.W. Bush appointee – big business is winning big time. The financial backers of the Republican Party are getting exactly what they paid for.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts admitted that “capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day.’” But then came the kicker: “But it is not plausible,” he wrote, “that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.”
Not plausible? Congress enacted the Environmental Protection Act in 1970. As with all laws, Congress left it to an administrative agency – in this case, the EPA – to decide how that Act was to be implemented and applied. That’s what regulations do: They implement and apply laws.
For the Supreme Court to give itself the authority to say whether Congress intended to delegate this much regulatory authority to the EPA is a truly radical act – more radical than any Supreme Court in modern history. If Congress has been unhappy with decades of EPA regulation, Congress surely has had the power to pull that authority back. But it has not.
As Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the dissenters, countered: “The Court appoints itself — instead of Congress or the expert agency — the decision maker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening.”
The implications of the ruling extend to all administrative agencies in the federal government – to the Securities and Exchange Commission implementing the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934, to the Federal Trade Commission applying the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, to the Department of Labor implementing the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and so on, across the entire range of government – and the entire range of regulations designed to protect consumers, investors, workers, and the environment. (This same Supreme Court has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was not authorized to impose a moratorium on evictions and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was powerless to tell large employers to have their workers be vaccinated or undergo frequent testing.)
In passing laws to protect the public, Congress cannot possibly foresee all ways in which those laws might be implemented and all circumstances in which the public might need the protections such laws accord. Starting today, though, all federal regulations will be under a cloud of uncertainty – and potential litigation.
A final implication of today’s ruling is that the filibuster has to go. If the Supreme Court is going to require that Congress be more active and specific in protecting the environment or anything else, such a goal is implausible when 60 senators are necessary to enact it. Senate Democrats now have it in their power to abolish the filibuster. Today’s case should convince them they must.
When Will We Ever Learn?
It takes so little to raise my hackles these days, so let me just share two little snippets that left me growling this week.
Life on Planet Earth … but for how long?
Just as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its latest report detailing the threats posed by global warming and concluding that nations aren’t doing nearly enough to protect the planet, the U.S. Supreme Court stands poised to curtail the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to proceed with sweeping regulation of climate-warming emissions from the nation’s power plants.
According to the IPCC report, water and food insecurity have become widespread, affecting millions across the globe, as droughts, heat waves and floods inundate the planet. More than 13 million people in Africa and Asia were displaced by extreme weather in 2019. Says ecologist Camille Parmesan, one of the report’s authors …
“One of the most striking conclusions in our report is that we’re seeing adverse impacts that are much more widespread and much more negative than expected.”
The report said “transformational” changes will need to be made not only in the way we get our energy, but in the methods used in the building of new homes, in the way we grow food and in the way we protect the environment.
“With climate change, some parts of the planet will become uninhabitable.”
“Overall, the picture is stark for food systems. No one is left unaffected by climate change.”
Although many world leaders have pledged to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the current trajectory is from two to three degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Says Maarten van Aalst, another of the report’s authors …
“Beyond 1.5, we’re not going to manage on a lot of fronts. If we don’t implement changes now in terms of how we deal with physical infrastructure, but also how we organize our societies, it’s going to be bad.”
Can you imagine life with food and water scarcities? Most of us living in the U.S. cannot imagine it, for we have never been there, making it difficult for us to perceive. However, if we don’t wake up and STOP mining coal and drilling for oil, stop driving gas guzzling vehicles, stop leaving every light in the house on, then it may be a matter of only a few short years before we wake one morning and find our world transformed and not in any good way.
And on the heels of that report, the Supreme Court, or at least the five ‘conservative’ justices on the Court, are considering clipping the wings of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On Monday, the Court heard oral arguments in the case of West Virginia vs EPA in which Republican attorneys general and coal companies are asking the court to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate planet-warming gas emissions from power plants. The name of the agency … Environmental Protection … speaks for itself. We are killing our planet, the EPA is trying to stop the madness, and the Court is considering giving into the madness, giving already wealthy coal and oil barons a clear path to increase their wealth at the expense of future generations world-wide! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Let us hope that common sense and care for the planet their children and grandchildren will inherit will lead the Court to make the right decision in this case. I’m not holding my breath.
Okay, so I am 70 years old and perhaps my mind is too calcified at this point to understand the new pseudo-vocabulary that the ‘conservatives’ have been inventing for the past year or two, but apparently they don’t much understand the English language. I direct your attention to their use of the word ‘woke’, a word that in the English language means arose from sleep.
So, the right-wing bunch refer to those of us who care about such things as women’s rights, equality for all, LGBTQ rights, and more as being ‘woke’. Well, if you mean we came out of a deep sleep, whether actual or rhetorical, then no – we have always been awake, unlike others in this country who would deny half the population of their rights. It seems that their very definition of ‘woke’ means an educated humanitarian, and the opposite is … well, an uneducated bigot.
The kicker on the use of ‘woke’ came yesterday when I read in an article that none other than conspiracy theorist Steve Bannon referred to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as being “anti-woke”, meaning he is still sleeping, has no concept of humanitarianism and human rights. That sounds about right, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t how Bannon intended it! His intent was to compliment Putin, and being called “anti-woke”, as I understand the newly-given definition of ‘woke’, is a monumental insult. But then, people like Bannon et al aren’t very intelligent, so what do you expect?
And on the topic of conservatism … I think that calling for the lynching of one of the world’s renowned medical experts in the field of virology is not very conservative! I also think that the disrespectful heckling of the president while he is giving a speech talking about his own son’s death is anti-conservative. A trucker’s convoy to protest health safety measures damn sure doesn’t fall under any conservative set of values. Chanting to ‘hang’ the vice-president does not sound very conservative to me. The list is endless, but there is no way to reconcile today’s Republican Party, aka GOP, with conservatism. None. No. Way. If these things represent the Republican Party and their ‘anti-wokeness’, then this nation is in a world of trouble. Think about it.