On Wednesday, the Department of Justice filed a civil complaint against California, several of its officers, the California Air Resources Board, and the Western Climate Initiative Inc. for what it claims is an unlawful cap and trade agreement the state made with the Canadian Province of Quebec.
“The state of California has veered outside of its proper constitutional lane to enter into an international emissions agreement. The power to enter into such agreements is reserved to the federal government, which must be able to speak with one voice in the area of U.S. foreign policy,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “California’s unlawful cap-and-trade agreement with Quebec undermines the President’s ability to negotiate competitive agreements with other nations, as the President sees fit.”
The DOJ said in a statement:
The Supreme Court has recognized that the interests of cities, counties and states, and the American people as a whole, requires the federal power in foreign relations to be reposed exclusively in the federal government, keeping it free from local interference.
According to the complaint, filed today in the Eastern District of California, the defendants have pursued or are attempting to pursue an independent foreign policy in the area of greenhouse gas regulation. The Constitution prohibits states from making treaties or compacts with foreign powers, yet California entered into a complex, integrated cap-and-trade program with the Canadian province of Quebec in 2013 without congressional approval.
California’s agreement with Quebec, which the Western Climate Initiative facilitates (and where the Western Climate Initiative’s board is run by California and Quebec governmental actors), interferes with the proper execution of these federal responsibilities. Accordingly, today’s complaint asks the court to uphold the exclusive role of the federal government in conducting our foreign policy by declaring the agreement — and related statutes and regulations —unconstitutional, and enjoining their operation.
Governor Gavin Newsom blasted the complaint stating, “This latest attack shows that the White House has its head in the sand when it comes to climate change and serves no purpose other than continued political retribution.”
Frankly, I don’t care for Governor Newsom in the least, but the fact of the matter is that Congress was given zero authority to regulate emissions or climate change or anything of the sort. Additionally, citing a law that was based on usurping the Constitution really isn’t a firm foundation.
Publius Huldah has written on Congress’ authority. Among its authority outlined in Article I is to regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the States, and with the Indian Tribes.
Now, we know that is to make “regular,” according to the moral law of God, according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary.
Congress has NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY to bail out financial institutions, businesses, and homeowners who don’t pay their mortgages; NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY to take control of our health care; NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY to pass laws denying secret ballots to employees who are solicited for membership by labor unions; NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY to take away your IRA’s and other retirement accounts, NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY to take your guns, NO LAWFUL AUTHORITY to pass laws respecting energy consumption or “emissions”, education, housing, etc., etc., etc. (emphasis mine).
In an opinion piece at The LA Times, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jon Healey wrote:
From the early days of this nation forward, the Supreme Court has held that only the federal government can set foreign policy. The Constitution isn’t exactly vague on that point; Article I declares that “No state shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance or Confederation.” Nevertheless, state and local governments have over the years sought to promote themselves and build relations beyond U.S. borders. They launched trade missions, recruited foreign businesses and investors, and even took part in boycotts against foreign governments. And in 2013, the state of California established a carbon-emissions cap-and-trade program with the government of the Canadian province of Quebec to combat global warming.
Notice what has been going on, not just in California, but in other states. Those states doing it doesn’t make it right, and I think that is a really a bad basis for an argument.
However, Healey went on to write, “Clifornia’s deal with Quebec certainly looks like a “Treaty, Alliance or Confederation.” Granted, the Founders were more interested in stopping states from negotiating military alliances with foreign empires or striking their own tariff deals with the country’s trading partners. And some legal scholars insist that states can engage in the aspects of foreign affairs that the Constitution didn’t explicitly put off-limits.”
Healey continued, “A good argument may still be made that states aren’t affecting the federal government’s ability to set a uniform foreign policy when they enter cap-and-trade pacts. California’s action affected only California businesses. And under the federal Clean Air Act, the state has the duty to regulate emissions by companies within its borders. Its deal with Canada extended directly from that regulatory obligation. And the public clearly gains nothing from this lawsuit. It serves no one’s interest; not the public’s interest in slowing climate change, nor businesses’ interests in meeting state emissions limits — without partners in Quebec that can offer emission credits, California businesses are likely to find it harder to meet the state’s emissions limits. On second thought, it serves one person’s interest. And that’s why the Justice Department will be using some of your tax dollars to explore whether California overstepped its authority in trying to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are destroying the planet.”
It’s not going to destroy the planet and that is absolutely a stupid thing to say if one believes in the foundational principles put forth in the Bible that God sustains the earth and it stands forever (Psalm 104:5) until it is remade (Revelation 21:1). Furthermore, the federal Clean Air Act is outside its scope of authority and should be rendered null and void and thus this “regulatory obligation” that is mentioned is also null and void.
So, in my opinion, California’s motives are definitely suspect in what they are doing to their own people in this, and it only gets worse in their regulations because they have forgotten the Creator in all of this. And the federal government’s involvement in emissions regulations are also a usurpation of the Constitution.
Yet, while Healey writes that the Trump administration’s “motives are suspect,” he goes on to add, “but the Trump administration raised a valid question in challenging the constitutionality of California’s cap-and-trade program with Quebec.”
Frankly, I question whether California or the feds should be involved in any of this, and something tells me that if I were to dig into California’s Constitution, there is no state authority to be doing what they are doing either.
Below is the complaint.
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