Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Big Business: Laws? What laws?

As activist court rulings have weakened the Environmental Protection Agency, America gets to see Big Business at its lawbreaking worst.

And - as large corporations claim the laws no longer apply to them - it's led to another meteoric rise in the rates of deadly pollution.

Large businesses have spilled oil, bacteria, and cancer-causing chemicals in our waterways, but aren't being prosecuted - because activist judges have forced the EPA to set aside these cases.

After a pipe maker in Alabama was fined for dumping chemicals in a creek, a court ruled that the stream was exempt from the Clean Water Act. Their argument was that the Clean Water Act protects only "navigable" waters.

Well, then where does the water from that creek go? Creeks don't defy gravity: The water inevitably ends up in a navigable waterway - likely one where you get your drinking water.

The problem continues as homeowners' associations require residents to use toxic chemicals on their lawns. The toxins produce runoff into our nation's streams and water supplies.

Some members of Congress are trying to remedy the courts' legislating from the bench, but these bills haven't passed. That's because corporate lobbyists have misrepresented the bills by saying the bills would go after farmers over small puddles.

But that's a lie. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) said plainly, "These claims just aren't true." All the bills would do is restore the laws to what they were before right-wing judges chiseled away at them.

This may be yet another situation where the states need to shore up the laws where the federal government has failed us.

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