A federal appeals court in the U.S. earlier this month dismissed efforts by the US Environmental Protection Agency to compel as many as 30 states to adopt less restrictive mercury emission regulations than what the states themselves wanted to impose on power plants located within their juristiction. Details of this effort by the Bush Administration's E.P.A. are located in this article.
E.P.A. officials reportedly put tremendous pressure to impose on the entire country a mercury emissions trading program that, to all appearances, a majority of states did not wish to participate in. Were the federal government clearly acting in the broad interests of the whole country rather than the narrow interests of individual states (especially if the states were not interested in protecting the health of their citizens), one could argue that such an approach would be justifiable. The opposite was the case here. The willingness of a given state to impose greater emission restrictions within their borders should (and in most cases likely does) represent the consensus within that state regarding the type of regulation they think appropriate for their local environment. In effect, the Bush Administration was attempting to impose their own values and the values of states unwilling to impose such regulatory restrictions on the rest of the country.
January 20, 2009 can't come quickly enough . . . . .