By John Klar
Vermont’s Senate has embraced S148, an “act relating to environmental justice,” which seeks to redistribute the costs of environmental pollutants from the city mice to the country mice, while punishing white people who live where there is fresh air for the sin of country living. The law is patently unconstitutional, by design – social justice ideology condemns the U.S. Constitution, and seeks to replace it with infinite powers in the Social Justice Elite.
The Declaration of Independence expressed the goal of protecting “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Later, the Preamble to the Constitution proclaimed:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The American “system” aspiring toward equality has never been perfect, but it has been the least imperfect of any political structure in history. Vermont would expand government’s powers far beyond these five core areas, to create a utopian world in which the alleged defects of American exceptionalism will be rectified.
The false narrative of the Far Left denigrates America contemptuously:
Americans have traditionally treated the ideas of equality and freedom as meaning simply that the individual is not prevented from following his own life, but that the society has no obligation towards the individual. This view is consistent with the country’s capitalistic history, and has resulted in the wealth and income inequality from which the society suffers. In effect, although there is no legal slavery in the United States, easily 75% of the population is locked into a system in which its lack of education, wealth, and income makes it enslaved to the economic system. The way that history is taught in America attempts to hide the hypocrisy. ….Because the black population suffers most, it has become the leader of the fight to bring the reality of our society into line with the economic, social and political expectations of the people. There are certainly whites, Latinos, Asian and Native citizen who have joined them, but as yet not with overwhelming numbers. It is only when that happens that we shall have true liberty and the ability to pursue the happiness that the Founders promised us. – Michael T. Hertz, April 4 Nation of Change.
This naive illusion captivates Vermont’s far-out Leftists, who claim their one-party final solution is far superior to what those unenlightened Founders concocted! The truth is, people who live in urban areas suffer the increased risks of pollution regardless of race; numerous white Vermonters suffer abject poverty despite living deep in the environmentally-clean mountains (and they can’t use a bus or go to the museum: unrecognized urban benefits).
Vermont’s environmental justice act broadly defines environmental burdens and benefits, fabricating endless “rights” along the way:
“Environmental burdens” means any threat to the fundamental right to clean air, land, and water, including any destruction, damage, or impairment of natural resources that is not insignificant, resulting from intentional or reasonably foreseeable causes, including climate change; air pollution; water pollution; improper sewage disposal; dumping of solid wastes and other noxious substances; excessive noise; activities that limit access to natural resources and constructed outdoor recreational facilities and venues; inadequate remediation of pollution; reduction of ground water levels; impairment of water quality; increased flooding or stormwater flows; and damage to inland waterways and waterbodies, wetlands, marine shores and waters, forests, open spaces, and playgrounds from private industrial, commercial, or government operations or other activity that contaminates or alters the quality of the environment and poses a risk to public health.
Urbanites now have a “fundamental right” to be protected from “excessive noise”? How quixotic. Meanwhile, those white Vermont country bumpkins are allegedly racially abusing the poor city folk by breathing clean air in their ramshackle shacks and sixty-year-old trailers. Government will create universal Eden:
“Environmental benefits” means the benefits that enhance the capability of communities and individuals to function and flourish in society, such as access to a healthy environment and clean natural resources, including air, water resources, open green spaces, constructed playgrounds and other outdoor recreational facilities and venues, affordable renewable energy sources, public transportation, fulfilling and dignified green jobs, healthy homes, health care, environmental enforcement, and training and funding disbursed or administered by governmental agencies.
In order to accomplish this bureaucratic fantasy, the new Environmental Justice Committee (to be staffed by numerous people of color, in 94%-white Vermont) will have power to enact rules based on skin color. Vermont claims that it follows federal law and does not “discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex” – the very categories for which Vermont now enacts specifically purposeful laws to discriminate against.
The environmental justice fantasy act declares:
“Environmental justice” means all individuals are afforded the right to equitable access to environmental benefits; proportionate distribution of environmental burdens; fair and equitable treatment and meaningful participation in decision-making processes and the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies; and recognition of the unique needs of individuals of all race, color, income, class, ability status, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity or ancestry, religious belief, or English language proficiency. Environmental justice redresses structural and institutional racism, colonialism, and other systems of oppression that result in the marginalization, degradation, disinvestment, and neglect of Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color. Environmental justice requires prioritizing resources for community revitalization, ecological restoration, resilience planning, and a just recovery to communities most impacted by environmental injustices and natural disasters.
This bill contorts the Vermont Constitution to undermine the U.S. Constitution:
Article 7 of the Vermont Constitution establishes the government as a vehicle for the common benefit, protection, and security of Vermonters and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single set of persons who are only a part of that community. This, coupled with Article 1’s guarantee of equal rights to enjoying life, liberty, and safety, and Article 4’s assurance of timely justice for all, encourages political officials to identify how particular communities may be unequally burdened or receive unequal protection under the law due to race, income, or geographic location.
“Life, Liberty and Safety” now means infinite powers for government to create utopia via overt systemic discrimination! This jurisprudential somersault yields the New Racist System intended for Vermont, as stated in the Environmental Justice Act:
It is the policy of the State of Vermont that no segment of the population of the State should, because of its racial, cultural, or economic makeup, bear a disproportionate share of the environmental benefits or burdens. This policy requires the meaningful participation of all individuals in the development, implementation, or enforcement of any environmental law, regulation, or policy.
A whopping 29 out of 30 Vermont Senators signed this bill, which includes implementation of the “Environmental Justice mapping tool to measure environmental justice impacts at the local level.” This is systemic racism, directly opposed to the Equal Protection Clause and the specific wording of federal anti-discrimination laws. The ideological Trojan Horse of “equity” seeks to create a more imperfect union.