June 15, 2007

Payback can be a ...

Kim Strassel says (free link) that the 110th Congress Democrats have now made legislative payments to their funding constituencies. "First came Big Labor. Then the tort lawyers. What special interest lobby remains for the Democratic majority to reward for services rendered this past election?"

It's the environmentalists. Shades of Vaclav Klaus, they will use green language to get unprecedented power over land use and the economy.

These are the folks who helped write the "energy" bill that passed committee this week. Broadly, the bill fulfills one big ambition of environmental groups in recent years: a rollback of any smarter use of public (or even private) lands for energy use. Gone are previous gains for more drilling, more refineries, more transmission lines. But the big prize was an unprecedented new power allowing green groups to micromanage U.S. lands. That section creates "a new national policy on wildlife and global warming." It would require the Secretary of the Interior to "assist" species in adapting to global warming, as well as "protect, acquire and restore habitat" that is "vulnerable" to climate change. This is the Endangered Species Act on steroids. At least under today's (albeit dysfunctional) species act, outside groups must provide evidence a species is dwindling in order for the government to step in. This law would have no such requirements. Since green groups will argue that every species is vulnerable to climate change, the government will be obliged to manage every acre containing a bird, bee or flower.

It's a green dream come true, carte blanche to promulgate endless regulations barring tree-cutting, house-building, water-damming, snowmobile-riding, waterskiing, garden-planting, or any other human activity. The section is vague ("protect," "assist," "restore") precisely so as to leave the door open to practically anything. In theory, your friendly Fish & Wildlife representative could even command you to start applying sunblock to your resident chipmunks' noses.


"Endangered Species Act on steroids." And crack. And she's outta crack...

President Bush will veto this. But we must not let internecine strife keep us from electing a Republican president in 2008.

110th Congress Posted by John Kranz at June 15, 2007 9:35 AM