CPR Scholars' Recent Op-Eds

by Matthew Freeman

May 15, 2017

CPR Member Scholars continue to make their voices heard on the nation’s opinion pages. You can always review the latest and greatest pieces on our op-eds page, but here’s a roundup from the last few weeks to save you a couple clicks.

Two CPR Member Scholars had pieces in The American Prospect in mid-April. Tom McGarity called out the right wing’s on-again, off-again allegiance to states’ rights in "Trumping State Regulators and Juries." McGarity writes, “Conversations about how progressive states should resist regressive Trump administration policies and sidestep Republican control of Congress often ignore the elephant in the room—the power of the federal government to preempt state regulations and even the ability of victims of corporate abuse to seek relief in state courts.” The right wing has been supportive of regulatory preemption for some time now, its decades’ long use of states’ rights rhetoric as a rational for federal inaction notwithstanding.

Three days later, Rena Steinzor’s The American Prospect piece reviewed the stakes in the Trump/GOP "War on Regulation." One tool in that effort is the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the Contract With America-era law that the congressional GOP has used to repeal 13 regulatory safeguards finalized in President Obama’s last six months in office. She notes that the Obama administration adopted about 150 rules during that period and explains that it was “risky because the [CRA] also says that once a resolution of disapproval is enacted, the agency cannot issue a ‘substantially similar’ rule, in effect depriving regulators of some as yet undetermined amount of legal authority to revisit the problems addressed by the vetoed rule. In lobbyist lexicon, legislative vetoes have the potentially enormous advantage of ‘salting the earth’—destroying future agency efforts to address a problem.”

On April 28, David Driesen joined his Syracuse University colleague William C. Bank in penning a HuffPost piece noting that the precautionary principle commonly used in the context of environmental law — taking cost-effective measures to prevent catastrophic harm even before we have a complete understanding of an environmental threat — might also be applied to the threat now occupying the Oval Office. In "100 Days, Trump and Precaution," the authors highlight legislation aimed at reiterating the limits of Trump’s power to make war. They note that Reps. “Edward Markey and Ted Lieu have introduced legislation to prohibit first strikes with nuclear weapons. Congress should … [also] consider other limits on Trump’s war power, such as geographic or enemy-specific limits on the use of military force.”

On May 3, Sandra Zellmer joined Monte Mills and Michelle Bryan in a piece published on The Conversation (and reposted on CPRBlog) decrying the President’s executive order directing the Secretary of the Interior to review, with an eye toward revoking, former presidents’ monument designation under the Antiquities Act. The order is on shaky legal ground, they say, and it “places at risk two decades' worth of financial and human investment in areas such as endangered species protection, ecosystem health, recognition of tribal interests and historical protection.”

Finally, Joel Mintz wrote that it’s “Time for a Change of Course by Trump on Climate” in the Orlando Sentinel on May 8. Mintz observes that the president’s budget proposal and executive orders would “force all federal agencies and departments to abandon ongoing climate research and … require a reassessment of all federal programs and requirements to slow the rate of climate disruption, and even abandon efforts to minimize its harmful impacts.” He goes on to describe the flawed premise of Trump’s policies: that climate change regulation would have negative economic consequences. “Quite to the contrary,” Mintz observes, “new technologies to create sustainable energy sources and mitigate the pollution from fossil-fuel-burning power plants would create jobs.”

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Also from Matthew Freeman

Media relations consultant Matthew Freeman helps coordinate CPR's media outreach efforts and manage its online communications. His media relations experience in Washington spans more than 30 years, and his client list includes a range of organizations active on the environment, education, civil rights and liberties, health care, progressive organizing in the interfaith community, and more.

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