- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

States across the country want Washington to stop meddling in their affairs when it comes to the environment, health care and guns, and it’s not just right-wingers leading the charge. Last week, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal fired a shot at the Environmental Protection Agency for its attempt to coerce the state into regulating carbon dioxide as if this naturally occurring gas were a pollutant.

In a letter to the EPA, Mr. Freudenthal cited a 1999 act of the legislature that prohibited him from taking any action to implement the Kyoto Protocol regarding reductions in so-called greenhouse gases. Without U.S. Senate ratification, Kyoto never became the law of the land, and congressional Democrats have failed to enact the restrictions through a cap-and-trade law. That has left the Obama administration with no choice but to turn to the unelected bureaucracy to implement its agenda.

That doesn’t sit well with Mr. Freudenthal, a Democrat and a 2008 convention superdelegate for Mr. Obama. Mr. Freudenthal hasn’t been in any rush to call a special session to ask the legislature to modify state law. “He’s very troubled by the administration’s policies toward coal and other natural resources,” governor’s office spokesman Leigh Anne G. Manlove told The Washington Times. “He has some serious concerns about how they impact Wyoming.”

This isn’t the first example of Cowboy State law forcing the rejection of administration policy. In June, Mr. Freudenthal became one of a handful of governors to reject a $1 million Obamacare grant handed out in return for state insurance commissioners agreeing to review health insurance rates under new federal rules. Because Wyoming’s legislature gave its insurance commissioner no authority to review insurance rates, the state is not interested in participating.

Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri and Virginia have opted out of an even larger slice of Obamacare by rejecting the health coverage mandate. The anti-Obamacare measure will also be on the November ballot in Arizona (as a constitutional amendment), Colorado and Oklahoma so voters can decide. Judging from the 71 percent approval Missouri’s electorate gave to the Health Care Freedom Act, the electoral rebuke to the administration’s policies will be difficult to ignore.

Even in areas like gun control, where the president’s agenda has shown some restraint, states are taking pre-emptive action. After Mr. Obama was sworn in, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming enacted firearms freedom laws that declared all ammunition and firearms produced within their respective borders to be exempt from federal regulation. So long as the guns and ammo don’t cross state lines, they aren’t involved in interstate commerce. Wyoming’s legislation, signed by Mr. Freudenthal, makes it a crime punishable by a $2,000 fine and a year in jail for any state or federal official to attempt to enforce a federal gun regulation on a Wyoming-made gun.

This is the silver lining to Mr. Obama’s legislative excess. Even members of his own party can see that it’s time to restore respect for the Ninth and 10th amendments to the Constitution by limiting federal power.