Monday, December 10, 2007

Pollution Regulations Trump the First Amendment?

Washington State:

"The state is unlikely to grant a permit to a man who wants to burn a Mexican flag on the steps of the state Capitol, because of air pollution concerns. Nick Bradford, of Tacoma, said he wants to burn the flag when the legislative session opens in January, to encourage the state to do more to crack down on illegal immigrants, including allowing local police to arrest people who enter the country illegally. ...

The Department of General Administration, which operates the building, checked with the Olympia Fire Department, which said any burning would have to be cleared by the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, department spokesman Steve Valandra told The Olympian newspaper.

"Flag burning is a form of protected free speech, so if he wanted to get a permit to do this, GA would grant it to him, as long as he abided by whatever other preconditions existed," Valandra said. But there's little chance the clean air agency would allow a permit, said Richard Stedman, executive director of the agency. "Burning a flag produces a lot of toxic materials...


I guess that's the end of Leftists burning Old Glory -- but maybe not.