The Law of Land and Sea and Air: Yet Another Reason to Vote!


It’s no secret that anything resembling an environmental protection law that even nods to the possibility of human-induced climate change is under sustained and rabid attack by industry groups and the politicians who represent them. (Okay. Breathing.) The tactic over the last two years has been to go after the EPA, which is charged with creating regulations that abide by these laws. Myriad word bombs and legal challenges over the organization’s ethics and tactics have been lobbed at it by climate change deniers for years now.

Well, the Justice Department just made it clear in legal briefing that if you got a problem with the EPA, you should take it up with Congress. (Note: Today’s the day we take stuff up with Congress.) The government’s environmental watchdog is simply executing on existing law. If you’re a member of Congress, then take it up with yourself. Bottom line? If you don’t like what’s going down, change the law, and leave the EPA out of it.

Here’s the verbiage: As reported in Politico, the filing states that states, industry groups and other groups’ objections to EPA rules (here related primarily to the Clean Air Act) “is not really to EPA’s actions; rather it is to the decisions Congress made and to the strict requirements Congress itself imposed on sources of air pollution.”

So it’s the law, stupid. Well, it’s the law for now, anyway. The target on the back of these laws (and efforts to strengthen and update them) may be more attainable for climate change deniers when you get up tomorrow morning. To be fair, both parties have a problem with the existing antiquated Clean Air Act, though efforts to create new law didn’t make it though Congress as it was the last two years. (So keep in that going forward now, we’re not even talking progress. We’re talking about maintaining whatever footholds have been established in recent decades.)

Consider this: Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the favorite to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee if control of the House changes, says he’s geared up to investigate administration’s “poisonous regulations.” In fact, he told Politico that “If we have the gavel, I can assure you that the oversight subcommittee will be very busy. We’ll have a seat reserved for [the administration’s top climate and energy advisor Carol Browner].” EPA administrator Lisa Jackon would doubtless be spending a lot of time on the Hill, as well.

Attempting to go with a non-partisan note here, we all have varied opinions on what needs to happen in the arena of federal environmental law. Just ask yourself what it is you want and keep that in mind when you, if you haven’t already, go act on your wishes, that is to say, Vote. Now, please.

Image: samantha celera

Scott Adelson

Scott Adelson is EcoSalon's Senior Editor of HyperKulture, a monthly column that explores opening cultural doors to initiate personal change. He is also the author of InPRINT, which reviews and discusses books, new and old. You can reach him at