Holding the government’s feet to the fire | SummitDaily.com

Holding the government’s feet to the fire

Buck ParkerExecutive director, EarthjusticeOakland, Calif.

Jeff Barnard’s fine piece (“Court ruling on environment go against Bush administration,” Associated Press, April 14) might have mentioned one important but not-always-understood wrinkle: the role of private organizations in prodding the courts to force the federal government to obey the law.In many of the instances cited – coal mining, logging, protection for declining stocks of salmon, among many others – the reason the courts got involved was that private organizations represented by groups like Earthjustice, filed suit in federal court, pointing out the government’s violations of law. In an ideal world, federal agencies would obey the laws they are charged with carrying out, but too often (every day) they succumb to political or ideological pressure, and it falls to the public, represented by various not-for-profit groups, to hold their feet to the fire.

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