There is something disturbingly inconsistent about Gov. Janet Napolitano taking the position that illegal immigration is a federal matter, but it is OK for her to unilaterally declare and implement emission standards that interfere with interstate and international commerce (it includes four Canadian provinces).
It’s even more concerning that Napolitano believes she can enter into interstate and international compacts without legislative or federal approval. Contrary to the Aug. 4 op-ed piece by Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, defending her actions, a review of the Arizona Constitution reveals that no such powers are granted to the governor. They’re not even implied.
The Arizona Constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, is a declaration of limited government and each branch is restricted to the powers enumerated therein (AZ Const. Art. II Sec. 33). Each of the points Ableser highlights in his commentary on House Bill 2766 raises significant state and federal constitutional questions pointing out why the bill should die.
Notwithstanding the above, it could be fairly argued that the governor might negotiate an interstate (but not international) compact as an inherent power of the office. Assuming such a compact doesn’t violate the federal constitution and, in particular, the interstate commerce clause, the governor might negotiate terms to present to the Legislature for approval in the form of legislation. It’s analogous to the president negotiating a treaty; but even the president has to get Senate approval. Of course, in Arizona, both houses would have to approve a compact through legislation.
The other equally perplexing unconstitutional overreaching of executive power was Napolitano’s unilateral declaration of new Arizona standards for CO2 emissions. Administrative functions are under the control of the executive, provided they comply with the financial and statutory parameters established by (and limited to) the federal Constitution, Arizona Constitution, Arizona laws and, for environmental regulations, the authority granted in the agreement by the Environmental Protection Agency to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
That EPA environmental limitation is why Napolitano, ADEQ and Ableser (ranking member on the House Environmental Committee) can’t do anything about the egregious environmental violations by Transwestern Pipeline.
Although the state can implement stricter environmental standards, the standards cannot interfere with interstate or international commerce, and their approval process must comply with the state constitutional legislative requirements. The governor’s regulatory declaration to set more restrictive CO2 emission standards impedes both interstate and international commerce and is very dubious for compliance with the state legislative process.
Her propensity to run the state as a monarch should give us pause. Maybe if she had worked with instead of against the Legislature, the state and our children would not be so far in debt. If her idea of taking care of our children is to saddle them with these unnecessary financial and regulatory burdens, I wonder what would happen if she wasn’t taking care of them? You can ask the special-needs children who lost school funding this year if you want a first-hand account.
Bill Sandry is a Mesa resident.