The concept of “local control” is about one of the most steadfast themes in the Republican party. When national republicans speak, they speak of giving more power to the states and the dangers of the federal system being too slow and cumbersome. The theme of “the people there know what’s best more than Washington does” can be found in just about any GOP stump speech of the last 30 years in some form or another.
Likewise, when State officials from the right speak, it is again speaking of how the large, cumbersome state government cold never respond the way a local municipality or community can to its own needs. Republicanism virtually equals “local control” on just about every issue in today’s political world.
Well, there are a couple of exceptions. When it comes to a plant that the petro chemical, pharmaceutical, and plastics industries can’t stand, or a couple of gay people who want to get married, it’s then all about federal bans and constitutional amendments at the national level.
Now, thanks to Texas, you can add a third place where the GOP has betrayed these values – fracking.
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed a law this week actually making it illegal for local communities to ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracking. Communities like Denton, Texas and the city of Dallas already have and the billionaires don’t like it.
Because that is what this is really all about. Forget about principles, republicans have shown time and again that a principle can be tossed out the window on a whim. Better yet, it can be tossed whenever a billionaire wants it tossed. Screw the will of the people. Republicans talk a good game about how respectful they are of “the will of the people” when it is a bunch of angry tea people trying to stop gay marriage, but when it comes to fracking for fuel, it’s all about the will of the rich.
Think Progress reports:
These bills absolutely conflict with longstanding conservative principles of local control and self-determination,” Luke Metzger, the founder and director of Environment Texas, told ThinkProgress in April. “Many of these legislators are speaking out of both sides of their mouths, decrying federal preemption of state sovereignty on the one hand, while pushing one-size fits all mandates from Austin overriding local ordinances.”
After Denton outlawed fracking in 2014, it was sued by the Texas General Land Office and Texas Oil and Gas Association. In another extreme reaction to the Denton fracking ban, lawmakers introduced a total of 11 bills this session to limit local oversight over fracking before settling on HB 40, which was signed into law on Monday.
“It’s a bad situation when city leaders’ hands are tied,” Denton Councilman Kevin Roden told the Wall Street Journal. “There seems to be an attitude that big state government knows better than the citizens of a city. I just think — conservative or liberal — that is something you don’t do in Texas.
They call Obama a “tyrant” for signing laws that protect vulnerable people. Abbott and Texas republicans sign and support laws that do nothing to protect anyone but their wealthy donors, especially in the oil business. That isn’t tyranny? If one needs to see a “difference” between the parties though there are many, there probably aren’t a lot as obvious as this stark contrast.
The official reasoning for the move is over “property rights.” Apparently the property rights of one oil seeking rich guy supersede the property rights and every other right of every other citizen who can be potentially harmed by the actions of the greedy. Texas has decidedly and unashamedly sided with the one percent once again. Hopefully the citizens of Texas will rise up after being told they aren’t allowed to keep their children safe from contaminated drinking water. Because one wealthy guy wants to exploit resources, forget any right you have to live in a community where the water doesn’t catch on fire, the ground doesn’t shake or the cancer rate isn’t hundreds of times the national average. All the “rights” belong to the guy with the biggest wallet.
The only principle the Texas GOP seems to heed is the golden rule. . . he who has the gold – rules. Democracy is dead in Texas as long as the GOP controls the state.
Check out a report on the bill the Governor signed HERE:
Featured image via keranews.org