The Rule of Law

Remember when the rule of law was a hot topic among conservatives? Obviously, 9/11 changed everything so in the name of national security we should ignore laws against torture and laws against warrantless wiretapping, but what many fail to realize is that 9/11 made environmental regulations obsolete as well:

The Supreme Court, in a decision 15 months ago that startled the government, ordered the EPA to decide whether human health and welfare are being harmed by greenhouse gas pollution from cars, power plants and other sources, or to provide a good explanation for not doing so.

The administration, naturally, decided to comply with the court order "opted to postpone action instead, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post." Ah, opted to postpone. And how does that work?

To defer compliance with the Supreme Court's demand, the White House has walked a tortured policy path, editing its officials' congressional testimony, refusing to read documents prepared by career employees and approved by top appointees, requesting changes in computer models to lower estimates of the benefits of curbing carbon dioxide, and pushing narrowly drafted legislation on fuel-economy standards that officials said was meant to sap public interest in wider regulatory action.

The decision to solicit further comment overrides the EPA's written recommendation from December. Officials said a few senior White House officials were unwilling to allow the EPA to state officially that global warming harms human welfare. Doing so would legally trigger sweeping regulatory requirements under the 45-year-old Clean Air Act, one of the pillars of U.S. environmental protection, and would cost utilities, automakers and others billions of dollars while also bringing economic benefits, EPA's analyses found.

Or maybe it wasn't 9/11 after all. Maybe they're just whoring for the coal and oil companies who fund them. Crazy notion, yes. Since we all know that John McCain (a) is a maverick (b) is in no sense running for Bush's third term and (c) has heroically broken with the GOP on climate change no doubt he'll be issuing a call for impeachment or something.