Germany politicians are taking the notion of going green to a whole new level, calling for the creation of “green police” with the power to raid homes and businesses in order to enforce environmental regulations.
The German port city of Bremen is setting out a goal to cut carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2020. To meet this goal, the city is toying with the idea of creating a green police force that would enter private homes and property to enforce a ban on electric heaters.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation For Liberty reports that, “[w]hat sounds like one of the usual injection of fuel into the green bonfire of bans in fact takes on a whole new quality. The proposed law by Environment Senator Joachim Lohse foresees a system of monitoring that allows for detection of violations and punishment.”
“According to the Weser-Kurier daily, officials would ‘in carrying out the duties of their office, tread upon private property and enter private buildings,” reports the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. “The provision of the German Constitution for the inviolability of the home would in this respect be curtailed.”
“Here Lohse is creating nothing less than an environment police,” the Foundation added.
Bremen residents worried about having their homes raided because they forgot to turn off their electric heater may have some hope as the ban would clash with Article 13 of the German Constitution which guarantees the “inviolability of the home.” It’s unclear, though, if this will stop the city from moving forward with banning electric heaters and creating a police force to enforce the rule.
Environmental cops may be a concern in Germany, but they are a reality in the U.S. Last year, armed agents with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raided a gold mine in Alaska investigating supposed violations of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force swarmed the mine near Chicken, alaska in groups of four to eight, wearing body armor and carry guns. However, no arrests were made in the raid and no citations were issued.
“These heavy-handed tactics appear to have been wholly unnecessary,” wrote Republican Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and John Barrasso of Wyoming in a letter to the EPA, “and we therefore request that you immediately accommodate Alaska Governor Sean Parnell’s call for you to review and evaluate how EPA handles [Clean Water Act] violations.”
The EPA and other federal agencies said they were told by Alaska state troopers that there was “rampant drug and human trafficking going on in the area,” which warranted a heavily armed presence. But state troopers denied providing federal agencies with such information.
According to the EPA, agency law enforcement officers are required to carry firearms to perform their duties.
“This may include the arrest of offenders and the protection of public safety,” said the EPA in a statement. “Environmental law enforcement, like other forms of law enforcement, always involves the potential for physical, even armed, confrontation.”
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