Climate Change Executive Order Spurs States’ Rights Debate

The climate change executive order signed recently by President Barack Obama has both supporters and critics. A growing controversy surrounding the global warming document includes concerns about diminished states’ rights.The White House stated that the president’s latest executive order will make the process of “streamlining sustainability initiatives” quicker and easier.

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan was introduced about five months prior to the climate change executive order. The action plan placed climate pollution limits on both new and existing power plants for the very first time. The Obama administration initiative also includes plans to increase renewable energy production on federal land, aid communities in dealing with higher temperatures, and increase energy efficiency standards.

Opponents of the climate change plan believe the program paved the way for side-stepping Congressional oversight on environmental issues and once again diminished states’ rights. The president’s global warming executive order created a task force to advise the administration about the proper way to respond to wildfires, severe storms, droughts and other natural disasters allegedly brought on by climate change. President Obama’s task force will also offer guidance on response standards for other “potential impacts” spawned by climate change scenarios.

The global warming task force created by the executive order included seven Democratic governors and the Republican governor of Guam. Hand-picked mayors from 14 cities and two other local leaders round out the list of climate change advisors. The task force includes California Governor Jerry Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

The climate change executive order task force will review how federal money is spent on bridges, roads, flood control projects and other infrastructure programs which President Obama believes are impacted by global warming. A White House release after the climate change executive order was signed stated that even though the country has worked to curb carbon pollution, government officials need to “improve how states and communities” respond to extreme weather events, upgrade building codes, and address climate change impact on infrastructure.

According to a FoxNews report, critics believe the Obama administration task force has the power to:

  • Hold back money to communities unless they meet new standards on various items and agendas set by the Federal Government. For example, using new policies that will encourage communities to rebuild to pre-disaster standards instead of stronger ones.
  • Issue a “mandate to bring sweeping new changes to land use and resource policies.
  • Control and refocus “climate change data and use of it to push a new agenda into every priority of the Federal Government.
  • Create the need for a new internal organization for coordination efforts during a government sequestration and possible future shutdowns.

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