The nation is watching in helpless horror the inexorable spread of the oil spill from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf Coast’s shores. As a state with a huge amount of shoreline, Mainers can identify with the apprehension our southern neighbors feel.
The Environmental Protection Agency is one of the federal agencies engaged in the fight to stop the oil’s progress. At the same time, however, the EPA bears watching for ominous reasons. The agency recently declared greenhouse gases to be a public hazard. In doing so, the EPA kick-started its own national oversight of GHGs.
This is bad for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is Congress’ job to regulate GHGs for our country, something it works to address through climate legislation. Now, instead of making progress on climate change, Washington lawmakers must spend their time with something called “federal pre-emption.” In other words, they’ve got to stop the EPA from regulating GHGs before the agency makes a mess of things.
The EPA’s action would have American taxpayers carrying the cost of regulations. On the other hand, if states take matters into their own hands, the piecemeal regulations would likely spawn lawsuits against national corporations and local citizens if they were noncompliant with myriad regulations.
Our country stands the greatest chance of success regulating GHGs if we work together to tackle a single national framework.
Peter Laverdiere, Oxford