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The Rule of Law in Times of Ecological Collapse

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy Page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center Page.

With mass species die-offs, threats to human food supplies, toxicity of air and water, along with deforestation and ocean destruction and the justifiably dominant concern of climate change causing long-term droughts, floods, and extreme storms, the rule of law needs to be applied to the environment.  The Green Shadow Cabinet will make putting in place the rule of law a top priority.

In 1970 the National Environmental Policy Act, signed by President Nixon, took effect.  The law seeks: "To declare national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation..."

We must now make this law a reality.  Since 1970 the law has been manipulated by big business and government to allow environmentally damaging projects to go forward.  NEPA required an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before government actions but the failure of this process is evident when the State Department is on the verge of finding the Keystone XL Pipeline has no significant environmental impact even though James Hansen, one of the leading climate experts in the world, describes tapping into the Alberta Tar Sands as "game over for the planet" putting the Earth over the tipping point for climate change.


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