5 Life-Saving Environmental Rules Industry Just Asked Trump to Attack
By Keith Gaby
The Trump administration has already cancelled or sought to undermine 23 rules that protect our health and environment—including limits on toxic waste coal companies dump in rivers and regulations promoting more fuel-efficient cars.
But the administration is hungry for more, so it's asked companies, trade associations and lobbyists to suggest other rules they'd like the president to roll back.
Part of this wish-list process is being done in public and some, of course, is happening in private meetings. Rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has a whole "wish list" docket of its own, seem to be a particular target.
Here are five of the most brazen industry wishes submitted so far:
1. Coal tar: Trade association wants to end health studies.
The Pavement Coatings and Technology Council—a trade association for the paving industry—doesn't want research into the health dangers of the black top on which your children play foursquare.
It also doesn't want the government to study the impact of coal tar on "freshwater sediment contamination, indoor air quality, ambient air quality and effects on aquatic species."
2. Leaky oil and gas drill sites: Trade groups don't want to fix them.
Trade associations representing the oil and gas industry, including The Independent Petroleum Association of America, have filed comments attacking Clean Air Act standards requiring energy producers to take cost-effective steps to reduce methane and other air pollution.
3. Roofing fumes: Companies want no restrictions.
The National Roofing Contractors Association, a trade group representing roofing companies, doesn't want smog-forming chemicals restricted, saying such regulations "have been burdensome to our members."
4. Cancer-causing lubricants: Manufacturers say they should still be used.
No, not that kind of lubricant. The Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association complained that the newly established chemical safety law may require its members to find replacement products for materials known to cause cancer in humans.
5. Toxic pesticide: Chemical manufacturer wants ban removed.
Don't try to pronounce chlorpyrifos, just know this pesticide hurts kids' health. That's what the EPA had concluded last year, and proposed banning it after years of research showing that it causes developmental problems in children and that there are alternatives.
That is, until Pruitt came along, and under pressure from the manufacturer, ignored his own scientists and rejected the proposed ban, saying it needs more study.
Why This Wish List Should Be Taken Seriously
The Trump administration seems to view all health and environmental safeguards as potentially suspicious. That's in spite of strong data showing that environmental rules actually help the economy—by preventing illness, missed school days, worker absence, productivity problems and early death.
President Trump, who encountered these safeguards as impediments to building hotels faster and cheaper, promised to rid the government of 75 percent of rules that get in industry's way.
With an EPA administrator more eager to please his boss than to protect Americans' health, it's now our job to fight back and protect our kids.
Keith Gaby is senior communications director for climate, health and political affairs at Environmental Defense Fund