Saturday, April 11, 2009

Next: Global Warming Litigation

So you say you don't have a green thumb? Can't quite get those tulips to grow no matter how many times you try or how much you spend? Don't worry, soon you'll be able to blame it on the government and sue for thousands of dollars.

Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts have added a provision to a climate change bill they co-authored which would enable plaintiffs who claim to be victims of global warming to sue the federal government or businesses for failure to act on global warming.

According to the Washington Times:

Plaintiffs could seek up to $75,000 in damages a year from the government, with $1.5 million being the maximum total payout.
A single homeowner could make a living off of annual litigation, which sounds like a new form of legal welfare. The danger, however, lies in the prospect of an avalanche of lawsuits clogging up the federal government, and from what we've seen in the last decade or so, this litigious-happy society is more than capable of doing just that.

As long as we're on the avalanche motif, there is also the snowball effect this would most likely have. What is to stop self-perceived "victims" from suing their neighbors for using their gas lawnmower of propane barbecue? What if some green lunatic takes umbrage to your idling car on a cold morning? Such an ambiguous piece of legislation could have a - pardon the pun - chilling effect on society.

Then there is the logistical problem of someone from Duluth attempting to sue Beijing for their ecological transgressions. Try collecting damages from Mumbai or Bangladesh, or have your Muslim attorney serve papers to Islamabad. Where will it end?

Equally disturbing is the fact that Waxman is trying to get another rush job on this bill. Again, from the Times:
The Waxman-Markey blueprint, including the lawsuit provision, has just been released, and the Senate is drafting its own energy bill. But Mr. Waxman has set an accelerated schedule for passing the bill through his committee by Memorial Day and President Obama lists an energy overhaul bill as one of his top priorities.
As with other bits of nastiness emanating from Congress, everything they want to inflict on we the people is being fast-tracked through both houses. We must ask ourselves - and our congress people - what is the motivation for such expediency. Why is it so urgent to give people the ability to sue over imaginary malfeasance?

I still maintain that the inmates are running the asylum. See you in court...

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