Although the nation's attention is focused on the Presidential election, there is another office that wields tremendous power -- and which voters get to choose. It is their state's Attorney General, otherwise known as the People's Lawyer.
In response to President Obama's Clean Power Plan, a contingent of twenty-seven attorneys general has been pushing back, vigorously, via a lawsuit to halt the plan. The case is currently tied up in court.
Those in opposition to the plan, which has frequently been referenced as Obama's "signature climate policy," maintain that it will be detrimental to their state's economy.
Conversely, the White House and the EPA have emphasized that the Clean Power Plan will be:
- A major benefit for public health, reducing both medical costs and diseases caused by air pollution. 3600 premature deaths will be averted.
- A reduction in energy bills by 2030 that will translate into $200 annually per American family.
- A reduction in carbon dioxide pollution by 32 percent in 2030, down from the 2005 level.
- A job creator in the "environmental technology field," while pushing investment in the clean energy sector.
Polls show that the electorate in states where Attorneys General are suing, favor America's Clean Power Plan (Tweet this) by 61 percent. (There are three states where public opinion is against the plan. They are North Dakota, where fracking has become prevalent; the coaling-producing states of West Virginia and Wyoming.) Support for environmental regulations are especially high among the African-American and Latino communities, who are disproportionately impacted by toxic sitings, air pollution, unsafe drinking water, and high rates of asthma.
Is there is a subtext to this situation?
As far back as December 2014, the New York Times reported on suspect alliances between campaign funders and Attorneys General ("Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General"). This year, Americans United for Change picked up the theme with their report, "Polluter Impunity." The trajectory becomes quite clear when you "follow the money."
Individual Attorneys General have been the recipients of a combined $2.8 million. There is an evident link between their actions and campaign donations from fossil fuel entities. Once again, the fingerprints of the Koch Brothers are clearly visible, particularly via their lobbyists.