Unfair as it may be, there are certain things we northerners think of when you think of southern states. The first is bigotry and intolerance. Another is a near worshipful devotion to guns and anything related to guns. Hunting is part of it but just walking around with a big weapon strapped to your body is a much bigger part of it. In general, that’s not something that folks in northern states are nearly as enamored by. Yet another is a visceral disdain for government and regulations. Yes, we have all of these attitudes in the north, but they are just not really part of our culture.
However, Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette is out to change the perception people have of northern states, particularly with regard to all three of these issues.
In the bigotry and intolerance department, Schuette’s crusade against the LGBT community is well-known and he continues to spend vast amounts of our tax dollars to make sure gay and lesbian couples cannot marry and legally adopt children together. He has also weighed in in support of Arizona’s odious “Show me your papers” bill.
This past week, Schuette signed onto a a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals calling for overturning a Maryland law that bans assault weapons and limits the size of magazines. Who else signed onto the brief? Pretty much every single southern state along with a handful of sparsely populated, quite libertarian northern states:
- West Virginia
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
As far as opposing any sort of regulation, Schuette has been a real warrior in that regard. He’s done everything he can to oppose Obamacare including supporting a federal court’s decision that could take away Obamacare subsidies from nearly half a million Michiganders. He also came out in strong support of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. When the Environmental Protection Agency took steps to clean up pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, Bill Schuette was there to file an amicus brief opposing the EPA’s clean-up plan. Schuette also led a coalition of state AGs trying to overturn EPA rules about mercury emissions from power plants. A federal appeals court eventually smacked that down. However, this past week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up Schuette’s appeal:
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case brought by Michigan and 22 other states challenging regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The court announced Tuesday it will consider if the EPA should have considered the costs to states and businesses in regulating hazardous air pollutants given off by electric utilities.
According to court records, in April the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia upheld the 2012 regulation, which sought to limit the emissions of mercury and other hazardous materials from coal-fired plants and oil-fired plants.
Michigan and 20 other states, along with industry groups, challenged the regulation.
It’s bad enough that Schuette is fighting regulations that would help prevent mercury contamination that is polluting our Great Lakes. What’s most disgusting is Schuette’s justification of his position. It’s not that he doesn’t believe it won’t protect our citizens from toxic industrial pollution. It’s that he thinks corporate profits are more important, saying, “The EPA has expressly refused to consider the cost of its regulation.”
In Schuette’s worldview, corporate profits and cheap energy are far more important than the health of our citizens. It’s a false choice, of course. Eventually ALL of us will pay the price for environmental pollution in terms of increased deaths, extraordinary health care expenses, and the legacy of a polluted world that we leave to our descendents.
If Bill Schuette has his way, Michigan will be reformed in the image of our worst stereotypes of southern states: bigoted, gun-toting, anti-government types who will cut off their nose to spite their face if it means they can score an ideological point or two against the federal government.
It’s disgusting and it does not represent OUR Michigan.