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Paper: Liberals Should Boycott States Opposing EPA Regulations

A liberal writer is calling for “progressives” to boycott states that challenge EPA regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, mimicking the tactics used by LGBT activists last week to boycott Indiana over the state’s new religious freedom law.

In recent months, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been urging states not to implement EPA rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants. The so-called “Clean Power Plan” is expected to force more coal plants and mines to shut down and raise electricity prices.

ThinkProgress writer Joe Romm says liberals should not stand idly by while states nullify the EPA’s will.

“For progressives to win this fight — and the fate of literally billions of people hangs in the balance — we will have to match the state-level success the LGBT community and its allies recently showed in changing a discriminatory Indiana law,” Romm wrote in ThinkProgress.

“Imagine if there were a devastating global avian flu pandemic, and McConnell was urging the world governments not to come together to fight it aggressively because some U.S. states — egged on by McConnell himself — opposed the plan,” Romm added. “That is how shocking McConnell’s effort to stop global climate action is.”

Romm was careful not to equate fighting global warming with the battle over gay marriage, but said the “harm that climate inaction will bring to billions in the future is just too different from the extensive past and present discrimination and harm gays suffer.”

“The LGBT community did not win by asking by asking for ‘tolerance,’” Romm wrote. “No: ‘the lesson that the gay revolution holds for any progressive movement’ is that ‘they set out to change people’s minds about what is moral.’”

Romm’s boycott of anti-EPA states would be quite an expansive one — much more so than the Indiana boycott. So far, about one dozen states are suing the EPA over its carbon dioxide rules that aim to reduce emissions 30 percent by 2030. States say this rule invades state sovereignty and will hurt the economy.

“Our system doesn’t allow federal agencies to ‘improve’ or ‘fix’ laws to advance an agenda,” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement in 2014. “But that is what happened here: the EPA made a promise in 2011 to expand its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.”

West Virginia, a Democrat-led state, is leading 11 other states in a lawsuit against the EPA rules. More recently, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker joined the suit of against the EPA, saying the agency’s policies could have “a devastating impact on Wisconsin because we are so heavily dependent on manufacturing.”

But those states are just getting in the way of progress, Romm argued. To him, “states that join the effort to block serious climate action are making the choice for themselves, and that is a choice anyone who understands climate science should oppose.”

“Those who seek to block action to preserve a livable climate have chosen the battlefield. And that means it is fast approaching the time when all those who say they care about the climate, their children’s health and well-being, and future generations will have to stand up for their values state by state,” Rome wrote.

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