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I’m Rooting for California

How can the president revoke what Congress has granted? But that's neither here nor there right now. I'm rooting for California.

The Trump administration has just announced it will end California’s legal authority to set higher automobile pollution standards than the EPA’s.

The formal revocation of California’s authority to set its own rules on tailpipe pollution — the United States’ largest source of greenhouse emissions — will be announced Wednesday afternoon at a private event at the Washington headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to two people familiar with the matter.

New York Times, September 17, 2019

I’m not sure how the legal part of this works, given that California claims its legal right to a waiver was granted by Congress as part of the Clean Air Act of 1970, in the Nixon administration.

Under CAA Section 209 U.S. EPA must grant California a waiver unless the Administrator finds that:

�         California was arbitrary and capricious in its finding that its standards are, in the aggregate, at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable federal standards;

�         California does not need such standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions; or

�         such standards and accompanying enforcement procedures are not consistent with Section202(a) of the Clean Air Act.

How can the president revoke what Congress has granted? But that’s neither here nor there right now. I’m rooting for California.

Before you send me boxes of tar and feathers, with a card describing all the ways to enjoy sexual relations with a tree, I’ll explain my objections.

First, Congress, and the Nixon administration, had no Constitutional right to claim the air over California, or any other state, when it enacted the Clean Air Act. I don’t know how our federal government got so inside-out and upside-down that a state is proud that it has the legal authority to force an unelected bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. to issue a waiver to allow that state to do what it should be Constitutionally privileged to do in the first place.

If California wanted to ban cars, cows, and eating meat, I would be all for their right, as a sovereign state under the Tenth Amendment, to do it. Of course, I would, as a citizen of the United States, decline to ever live there or set foot in the place, but that’s my right.

If the Trump administration, with one hand, can roll back Obama-era overreach like the definition of a “puddle” in the Waters of the United States as part of the Clean Waters Act, and with the other hand, he can assert hegemony over all states by forcing California to give up something it also has the right to do: Regulate its land, citizens, and tailpipes; then what’s next? The next inhabitant of the White House will claim ever more power to District 1 Washington D.C.

Second, the EPA itself is a farce, a federal Green World Police force that has been used over the years to shake down businesses, destroy farms, and fund far-left envirokooks. The entire history of the agency is a story of duplication and overreach. Between the USDA and the Department of the Interior, everything the EPA does was already under the purview of a federal agency. But in the hazy pot-smoke-filled days of the early 1970s President Nixon felt he could throw the greenies a peace-and-hair bone, so the EPA was spawned from hell.

I would love to see the entire EPA shut down, now and forever, its functions returned back to the agencies from which they were unceremoniously and stupidly ripped. Therefore, yielding any power to the EPA to do anything is against my sensibilities.

Therefore, I’m rooting for California here. I hope the EPA loses and California wins. Then I hope President Trump comes to his senses and addresses the real problem, by shuttering the EPA.


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