At least five prominent Republican governors are advocating state resistance to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations regarding climate change and carbon emissions. If done by multiple states, this would likely nullify those EPA rules in practice.

Buoyed by assistance from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they are calling on states to deny enforcement resources for an anticipated regulatory plan from the EPA to combat climate change. A New York Times report elaborates on this emerging development:

As President Obama prepares to complete sweeping regulations aimed at tackling climate change, at least five Republican governors, including two presidential hopefuls, say they may refuse to carry out the rules in their states…

Republican strategists say that rejection of Mr. Obama’s climate policy at the state level could emerge as a conservative litmus test in the 2016 election. Two of the governors who have said that they might defy the regulations — Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana — are among at least four Republican governors who are expected to vie for the presidential nomination.

Other governors who have issued threats over the rules include Greg Abbott of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.

Interestingly enough, a politician not known for his rejection of federal power is working alongside governors across the country to reject these new EPA rules. The New York Times report continues:

The governors’ actions have come after the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, opened a campaign earlier this year urging all governors to refuse to carry out the climate change rules.

Mr. McConnell sent a letter to every governor in March, and he has continued his push in meetings and phone calls. In addition, his staff has been working closely with regulators and environmental officials in many state governments, helping them shape legal strategies to block the rules.

It is often said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and this truism is on full display here. Although Sen. McConnell strongly supports federal supremacy on a wide variety of issues including the Drug War and NSA spying, he does an about-face when it comes to the EPA.

These mainstream politicians are not alone. Many state legislators introduced bills this year to reject various areas of federal environmental control. An Arizona bill to help block unilateral EPA rules over “nonnavigable intrastate waters or waterways” passed in their state House in March. In addition, Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Washington State, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma saw legislation introduced this year to limit EPA rule-making in some way on issues such as light bulbs and wood-burning stoves in addition to water.

The feds are left in a precarious position. With a clear majority of the American people accepting the legitimacy of nullification by opting out of federal programs, it is becoming more and more difficult for them centralize power any further without being resisted at the state level.

This is especially evident with the EPA, a regulatory agency that is almost uniformly reviled by Republicans. Since studies show that as much as 80% or more of enforcement action on environmental issues are actually handled by the states, it would be extremely difficult for the federal government to carry out new regulations without state-level support.

But the EPA is not alone in this regard. There are many other of the ‘alphabet soup’ regulatory agencies operating in Washington D.C. that are rightfully despised, and they are all equally as vulnerable to state-level resistance as the EPA.

This is the blueprint for resistance that James Madison eloquently described in Federalist #46. His words are more important for Americans to understand than ever before, hundreds of years after he penned them:

Should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

In short, the “Father of the Constitution” urged a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” as an effective strategy to stop federal programs. After decades of growth in federal power, states should finally put this advice into practice by rejecting EPA regulations and refusing to participate.

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