Arizona State Lawmakers Want to Nullify All EPA Regulations

Arizona conservatives say the federal government has no authority to impose environmental regulations, but similar arguments elsewhere have foundered.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer points during an intense conversation with President Barack Obama after he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. Asked moments later what the conversation was about, Brewer, a Republican, said: "He was a little disturbed about my book." Brewer recently published a book, "Scorpions for Breakfast," something of a memoir of her years growing up and defends her signing of Arizona's controversial law cracking down on illegal immigrants, which Obama opposes. Obama was objecting to Brewer's description of a meeting he and Brewer had at the White House, where she described Obama as lecturing her. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
Add to Briefcase
Jack Fitzpatrick
Jan. 28, 2014, 5:40 a.m.

It’s no sur­prise when con­ser­vat­ive state law­makers in­voke the 10th Amend­ment to re­buke the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, and it’s all too com­mon that Ari­zona tangles with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

So it may have only been a mat­ter of time be­fore Ari­zona law­makers did both at the same time.

On Monday, 37 Ari­zona state law­makers in­tro­duced a bill aim­ing to nul­li­fy all En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency reg­u­la­tions in the state, ar­guing that the 10th Amend­ment pre­cludes any fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions over the en­vir­on­ment.

Ari­zona con­ser­vat­ives have already cri­ti­cized EPA’s up­com­ing pro­pos­al to lim­it car­bon emis­sions in power plants, call­ing it part of Pres­id­ent Obama’s “War on Coal.” The state has also clashed with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in court over its im­mig­ra­tion law and the Vot­ing Rights Act. And Re­pub­lic­an state Sen. Judy Burges, the lead spon­sor of this new EPA bill, has pushed oth­er state-sov­er­eignty le­gis­la­tion, in­clud­ing a bill that would ban cit­ies in Ari­zona from en­act­ing sus­tain­ab­il­ity pro­grams re­com­men­ded by the U.N.

Burges and sev­er­al co­spon­sors of the bill did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

The law­makers join a long list of con­ser­vat­ives na­tion­wide who have cited the 10th Amend­ment when fight­ing fed­er­al agen­cies.

The amend­ment, which grants state gov­ern­ments all powers not ex­pressly giv­en to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, has fre­quently been cham­pioned by con­ser­vat­ives on is­sues in­clud­ing health care re­form and gun con­trol. The move­ment has even been col­lect­ively re­ferred to as the “Ten­ther Move­ment.”

At the World Eco­nom­ic For­um on Jan. 23, Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke in fa­vor of states form­ing policies on same-sex mar­riage, marijuana leg­al­iz­a­tion, and abor­tion, cit­ing the 10th Amend­ment, ac­cord­ing to U.S. News and World Re­port. And in 2013, Sen. Ro­ger Wick­er, R-Miss., in­tro­duced a bill re­quir­ing fed­er­al agen­cies to prove that a rule does not con­flict with the 10th Amend­ment if a state of­fi­cial chal­lenges the rule.

But the prob­lem with Ari­zona’s 10th Amend­ment ar­gu­ment — and those in oth­er states — is that the amend­ment has been largely mean­ing­less for dec­ades. Al­though it gives states any powers not giv­en to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, two sec­tions of the Con­sti­tu­tion give the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment nearly any power it wants. The in­ter­state com­merce clause gives the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment the right to reg­u­late com­merce, and the ne­ces­sary and prop­er clause gives it the power pass any laws ne­ces­sary to carry out its oth­er powers.

With those clauses of­ten lib­er­ally ap­plied, the Su­preme Court ruled in sev­er­al cases in the early to mid-20th cen­tury that the 10th Amend­ment was a prom­ise that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment would re­spect the states, but that it had es­sen­tially no leg­al power.

In 1941, Chief Justice Har­lan Stone wrote that the amend­ment was all but point­less: “The amend­ment states but a tru­ism that all is re­tained which has not been sur­rendered.”

What We're Following See More »
ISIS INVOLVED
Niger Attack Possible Terrorist Set-Up
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"An emerging theory among U.S. military investigators is that the Army Special Forces soldiers ambushed in Niger were set up by terrorists, who were tipped off in advance about a meeting in a village sympathetic to local ISIS affiliates...The group of American Green Berets and support soldiers had requested a meeting with elders of a village that was seen as supportive of the Islamic State, and they attended the meeting at around 11 a.m. local time Oct. 4...Such meetings are a routine part of the Green Beret mission, but it wasn't clear whether this meeting was part of the unit's plan."

Source:
TRUMP’S COMMENTS AT ISSUE
Bergdahl’s Sentencing Delayed Until Wednesday
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The long-awaited sentencing of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was delayed Monday after a legal battle erupted over the word 'but' in President Donald Trump's most recent remarks about the case. Bergdahl's defense team argued that their client could not get a fair shake from the court because Trump, during a Rose Garden appearance on Oct. 16, at first said he couldn't talk about the case and then added: 'But I think people have heard my comments in the past.'" Trump has called him a traitor and suggested he should be executed.

Source:
PROBE CAME FROM INQUIRY INTO MANAFORT’S FINANCES
Mueller Investigating Tony Podesta and His Firm
19 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News. The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY
House Intel Will Interview Trump Digital Director
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump’s campaign digital director, Brad Parscale, will be interviewed Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, his first appearance before any of the panels examining the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Parscale confirmed his scheduled appearance. The Senate committees also probing interference haven’t scheduled time with Mr. Parscale, he said, declining to comment further."

Source:
CONGRESS MAY HAVE DIFFERENT IDEAS
Trump Promises No Changes to 401(k) Plan
21 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login