If government is good, bigger government is better. That political viewpoint owns Washington, circa 2022. And to be the best, apparently, President Biden is determined to make his government the biggest of all. Toward that end, his administration has added a new layer of authority to ensure Americans don’t commit any one of innumerable offenses against nature. So much for freedom in the “land of the free.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland lengthened the already long arm of the law Thursday in announcing a fresh branch to the legal thicket that is the Department of Justice. “A new Office of Environmental Justice will serve as the central hub for our efforts to advance our comprehensive environmental justice enforcement strategy,” said Mr. Garland. “We will prioritize the cases that will have the greatest impact on the communities most overburdened by environmental harm.”
Never mind that since 1970, the U.S. government has possessed an entire organization, the Environmental Protection Agency, to watch over the American landscape. Among its more than 14,000 employees are multitudes of scientists and engineers to scrutinize the impact of human activity on the habitat, not to mention its own armed police force to arrest miscreants and legions of lawyers to prosecute them.
Given its 2022 $11.2 billion budget, the EPA would already appear well-equipped to implement the nation’s environmental rules without reinforcement from the Department of Justice. Still, just as the very sight of an invincible army can send its adversaries fleeing before a shot is fired, lawyers like a similar advantage. Accordingly, Mr. Garland declared the new Environmental Justice Office is taking the field “in partnership with EPA.”
The agency’s “pollution police” gained notoriety during the Obama presidency for coming down on landowners for altering the flow of “navigable waters” that most people would identify as mud puddles, which only flow across their property during the rainy season.
Americans could point out other, more pressing environmental hazards in need of the EPA’s attention, such as the piles of clothing and trash strewn along the southern border that illegal immigrants have abandoned, or the piles of human excrement that hosts of mentally disturbed street-dwellers deposit on the streets of the nation’s cities.
Citizens would be wise to watch their step because there is no refuge from environmental justice. Said White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy during an April climate summit: “We’re actually going to do 100 rules this year alone on appliances, just like you asked. We are developing partnerships on how we work together for new building standards, even for sustainable airlines.” With the signature swagger of authoritarians, she added: “Who’da thunk that they’d be all in, but they better be, or they’re gonna be out of here.”
As the deification of nature unfolds, the Biden administration defines its rituals. The growing ranks of environmental justice warriors are determined to ensure that Americans understand that cleanliness is next to “governmentliness.”
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