Monday, June 23, 2008

Let's Waive Some Laws 'Cause we Feel Like it

I have this problem when I haven't blogged for a really long time that then when I want to blog I feel like I have to write about everything I've wanted to write about since the last time I blogged. But every time I see something that makes me mad, I get a little closer to finally blogging. Here's what pushed me over the edge today:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a plea by environmental groups to rein in the Bush administration's power to waive laws and regulations to speed construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has used authority given to him by Congress in 2005 to ignore environmental and other laws and regulations to move forward with hundreds of miles of fencing in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

The case rejected by the court involved a two-mile section of fence in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area near Naco, Ariz. The section has since been built.

"I am extremely disappointed in the court's decision," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said. "This waiver will only prolong the department from addressing the real issue: their lack of a comprehensive border security plan."

Thompson chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. He and 13 other House democrats — including six other committee chairs — filed a brief in support of the environmentalists' appeal.

Earlier this year, Chertoff waived more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest border. Administration officials have said that invoking the legal waivers — which Congress authorized in 1996 and 2005 laws — will cut through bureaucratic red tape and sidestep environmental laws that currently stand in the way of fence construction.


I had read about this before, but I forgot about it. How did this government happen?


david silver said...

indeed: sigh.

"How did this government happen?"

because we americans let it happen. but at least we - as individuals, as communities, as a country - have an opportunity to change course in november.

Amber said...

"we - as individuals, as communities, as a country - have an opportunity to change course in november."

It's interesting that you say that because I almost added to the post, "How much better do you think Obama will be?"

I definitely think he'll be *better*, but I guess I'm not convinced yet of how much things will change. I think it's really important, especially since so many people are hopeful about Obama, that after electing him in November we hold him accountable and make sure things do change the way he's promised. I hope that Obama supporters will go this direction rather than the "Obama can do no wrong" direction. When we go that way, we get situations like the one the article describes.

david silver said...

i'm totally with you.

i hardly believe that president obama will suddenly make the world a perfect place. but i think the very act of people voting for obama - and simultaneously voting against the bush/republican machine - will be a strong signal that we as a country have a least slightly awaken.

ack, that sounds so cynical.

that said, i have heard obama say some interesting things about the environment and i even heard his environmental consultant say on PBS that "we must get ourselves off of oil." when he said that, i was like, "yeah!" but then i reflected upon it and realized that very few politicians will say something so strong against oil.

anyways, i really like your post because you isolate a specific example that exposes the failed and massively dangerous policies of this administration. i just hope we can run them, and their successors, out of DC for a few years.