Here comes the punch to Louisiana telegraphed a couple of months ago, by an Environmental Protection Agency clearly captured by woke special interests against which the people and their elected officials must fight back.
Last week, the EPA announced it would investigate alleged state agency discrimination against black residents of an area with a large concentration of chemical manufacturers. Like a puppet, the agency parroted flimsy claims made a couple of months ago by a special interest group in the area that the state too cavalierly allowed permits for some facilities (one existing, one planned, and a proposed grain elevator) which provoked an “environmental justice” violation, or an example of an institution by its systemic nature discriminating against racial minorities in its allowing greater pollution where they disproportionately live.
Of course, the “environmental racism” behind this is a notion is a myth, dispelled beginning a quarter-century ago yet which continues in discourse only because its advocates redefine it not as a produce of intent, but of outcome that makes the concept lose its discerning power. More specifically to the case at hand, concerning permit decisions for the existing and planned producers in St. John the Baptist Parish, through a series of dishonest claims beginning with the oft-refuted assertion that people living in so-called “Cancer Alley” have significantly higher rates of cancer, it rears its ugly head. In reality, the best recent study, of plant employees where it contains a proxy for exposure as opposed to others that measure cancer incidence and distance from emission only crudely, confirms no elevated cancer rates.
But the EPA uses additional bad science in the case of the existing plant, Denka, under complaint. The most rigorous study of its product, chloroprene, shows the EPA classified its presence as harmful at far higher levels than warranted. Yet a request going back years for the EPA to reevaluate that determination has been ignored.
Understand this for what it is: a backdoor attempt by the climate alarmist, anti-fossil fuels Democrat Pres. Joe Biden Administration to use any means possible to throw up roadblocks that discourage any use of fossil fuels (the plants do and would use these in their processes). The political left, which employs climate alarmism as a Trojan Horse to justify its ideological imperative of greater government economic involvement and wealth redistribution, knowing a large majority of the population objects to the astronomical sums involved in the Green New Deal agenda required to stem the so-called “climate emergency,” instead relies on shadowy bureaucratic maneuvers and undemocratic judicial appeals to drive up the costs of any industry relying on fossil fuels.
In this case, the tactic illustrates breath-taking hypocrisy because some of the same special interest groups behind the complaints – that the state violated civil rights in that it improperly performed its regulatory duties – supported a federal district court decision that temporarily halted a ruling promulgated under the Republican former Pres. Donald Trump Administration that clipped the wings of state environmental regulatory authority that tried to stretch state powers under the Clean Water Act to reject fossil fuel projects. In essence, if states greenlight projects that would allow fossil fuel use these fanatics cry abuse of state power, but if a state expands its regulatory power to prevent such projects and the federal government restricts that, suddenly they’re on the side of states seeing that as a proper use of regulatory power despite the federal rule.
Fortunately, GOP Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry gathered a coalition of states that backed curtailing the expansive reading of state powers that had restored Clean Water Act grants of authority to the original intent. Last week, the Supreme Court agreed with his request by granting a stay from overturning the rule until a federal court of appeals could decide the matter.
The Biden Administration, perhaps conceding the rule will stand, has pledged to reverse it, putting leftist state governments back in business of obstructing fossil fuel projects on vague, nebulous grounds. Here, voters can help Landry’s cause by voting in Republican majorities to Congress this fall, whereupon early next year they may use the Congressional Review Act to veto a new rule, unless Biden forces pick up the pace and push out the repudiation of the old no later than the beginning of October.
Until then, the public will have to tolerate the machinations of these bullies who think they can force their anti-democratic agenda onto it. And in Louisiana, that may mean forbearance of the politicized EPA’s decision on this matter, due at the start of next month.