Federalism is not a facile commitment to “states-rights” no matter what states do. EPA Administrator Pruit’s criticism of California’s attempt to regulate beyond its borders is entirely consistent with a commitment to federalism.
If Congress can only protect its choices by broadly preempting states laws, it will. And, in the long run, states will have less room to protect the environment than they would if courts continued to enforce the balance. That would be a significant blow to both federalism and the environment.
If Republican states have to accept Congress’ decisions to restrict the use of federal lands, Democratic states have to accept decisions to encourage productive use of these lands.
Federalism should always drive environmental policy, not just when the President is opposed to environmentalists.