A group of 36 Republican Arizona lawmakers and one Democrat have signed a resolution supporting nullification of all Environmental Protection Agency rules.
The move comes just weeks after a chemical spill in Elk River, West Virginia, spoiled the water supply of 300,000 people, in part due to lax oversight of a coal-cleaning facility.
Twelve state senators and 25 representatives are listed on the resolution so far, with only one "D" on the list: Carlyle Begay of Apache County. Begay's a Navajo who's been concerned with the EPA's decision last year to impose stringent rules on Arizona's coal plants.
The resolution's main champion, State Senator Judy Burges of Sun City, wasn't available for comment. Neither were a handful of lawmakers we tried to reach by phone this afternoon, including Begay. We'll let you know if any call back.
According to the group, the EPA simply has no right under the U.S. Constitution to tell the citizens of Arizona what to do.
Their argument, if you could call it that, is based on the 10th Amendment. Scroll down for the complete and mercifully short text of Senate Resolution 1003:
"Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people";
and Whereas, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which is specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more;
and Whereas, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states;
and Whereas, the rulemaking authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers.
Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Arizona:
That the Members of the Senate support the nullification in the State of Arizona of all rules imposed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency."
We also left a message with a woman who answered the phone at the EPA's regional press office in San Francisco -- and who chuckled when we told her the reason for the call.
A state can't just opt out of EPA oversight. But maybe these Arizona leaders have hit upon a good solution for anything in life we find personally disagreeable: Just resolve to nullify it.
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