[Written in response to an editorial in the Kokomo Tribune 6/16/2023]
It is interesting the editorial writer from the Anderson Herald Bulletin does not know basic US law under the Constitution. In the recent editorial in the Kokomo Tribune titled, “Court attacks EPA authority”, the writer clearly makes the assumption the Court has the authority to make law. It does not.
The writer in the first paragraph says, “The US Supreme Court seems to be implementing military tactics in its offensive against the natural environment, attacking first from the air and now from the water”. What? The Supreme Court’s job is to hold the government and us all to within the bounds of legislation passed by the Congress. Nothing more, nothing less.
If there are muddy issues with what current law covers, it is up to Congress to clarify or correct it as an expression of the people. The authority granted the EPA is mostly from the Clean Air and Clean Water acts passed under President Nixon and Republicans long ago.
As one who considers himself an environmentalist from Rachael Carson “Silent Spring” days, I am fully on board with regulations that result in clean air, clean water, and uncontaminated soil. And we have a long, long way to go for those.
The main complaint voiced in the editorial involves the definition of a wetland. Many believed the EPA had itself extended its authority to even mud puddles. The Court did not agree, but limited EPA authority to areas connected to federally protected waterways; an authority granted under law.
The earlier complaint about air quality asked whether the EPA could place state-level caps on carbon emissions. The Court said no under current law. Again, the Court does not make law, it only sets the boundaries of authority under the law. If changes are needed, Congress is the body to make the changes; not the Supreme Court.
So, the editorial writer needs to freshen up on the Constitution before attacking the actions of the US Supreme Court.
Let me repeat… I am an environmentalist or conservationist of decades. I strongly believe in tight, effective laws that correct or prevent environmental degradation. At the same time, I believe such laws must come from the US Congress or State Legislatures and not from regulatory agency proclamation.