Those Terrible Regulations

Charles Bayer

Regulations have been hated by capitalists since the beginning of that kind of economy: they want complete freedom to do what they will do in order to increase their profits. We now have an administration willing to sacrifice everyone's health and safety so that corporations and such have a free hand.

In any recitation of what will make America great again, Trump will focus on the damnable “regulations” that have choked the nation. He has vowed to eliminate thousands of these toxic inhibitions to American business. So far in his reign he has indeed gotten hundreds of these nasty inhibiting rules off the backs of the nation’s helpless commercial victims. Since we have been repeatedly told how previous Congresses and Administrations have been delighted to throttle both our freedom and our safety by producing these useless rules, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at just a sample of what comprises a few of the terrible devices that have put a choke hold on our freedom.

I offer a sample of these reverses by looking at a some of the 78 regulations that deal with the environment and, thanks to President Trump, have now been eliminated. Here are a few that have been wiped off the books.

*A requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions.

*A rule limiting methane emissions on public lands, including intentional venting and flaring from drilling operations.

*A rule designed to limit toxic emissions from major industrial polluters.

*A rule that prohibited the use of hydrofluorocarbons (powerful greenhouse gases) in air conditioners and refrigerators.

*A rule calculating the “social cost of carbon” used to estimate the long-term economic benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

*A clean power plant rule that set strict limits on carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants.

*A rule requiring newly built coal power plants to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

* A requirement that companies monitor and repair methane leaks at oil and gas facilities.

*A freeze on new coal leases on public lands.

*An executive order designed to preserve ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters.

*A rule that required mines to prove they could pay to clean up future pollution.

*An order that had set a goal of cutting the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over 10 years.

*A rule that required braking system and other upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids, like oil and ethanol.

*A program designed to limit exposure to lead, which is known to damage brain and nervous system development.

*A rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams.

* Payments to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations program to help poorer countries reduce carbon emissions.

Those eliminations are how the Trump Administration seeks to deal with the safety of the air we all breathe and the water we all drink. Other now obliterated regulations previously protected the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the rights of labor unions, the safety of public transportation, the protection of animals (particularly those raised for our consumption), the sanctity of what is left of America’s wilderness, the safety of retirement funds, transgender rights---on and on and on.

Who is negatively affected by the jettisoning of these regulations? Consumers, the environment, the fragile American infrastructure—just to name a few. Who benefits? The industrial polluters as well as any firm “inhibited” by rules that safeguard the rights and safety guaranteed by these regulations.

I wonder whether the tiny group of voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin who provided the necessary Electoral College margins to guarantee President Trump’s victory will discover how their lives and their communities have been devastated? Along with the rest of us it is their air, water and safety that is being risked. And all for the broken promise to open the scores of closed factories in these states and reemploy the thousands whose jobs have been shipped overseas never to return.

It is a rotten deal for those citizens as well as for the rest of us.