Quantcast
Energy
iStock

While White House Touts Deregulations, Critics Denounce 'Craven' Pro-Corporate Policies

By Julia Conley

Public interest groups spoke out Monday about a White House event at which Vice President Mike Pence touted the Trump administration's deregulation efforts. President Donald Trump did not attend the "Cut the Red Tape" event due to the attack in Las Vegas, but the meeting went on as planned with the White House barring the press from the room.

The administration has demonstrated repeatedly since Trump took office in January that it aims to roll back safeguards put in place by the Obama administration in a number of areas. The president announced early in his term that he would offset any new regulation by scrapping two existing regulations. According to an analysis by Reuters, federal agencies have so far taken 25 deregulatory steps, affecting infrastructure projects, the environment and workers in a wide variety of sectors.


Regarding the climate, in addition to withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change, Trump has rolled back President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, scrapped his rules limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants, and reversed a policy banning national parks from selling bottled water.

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a statement on the need for environmental protections like the one Trump has been eliminating. "These critical safeguards were created based on the best available science and public input, but now they're being quickly and carelessly deleted," said Andrew Rosenberg of the group's Center for Science and Democracy. "They've ignored the evidence and put the interests of industry lobbyists over public health and safety. These changes will put Americans at risk, yet the president and vice president see this as an opportunity to take a victory lap."

Pointing to the recent example of a chemical plant explosion in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Rosenberg added, "The rush to undo these rules has real, damaging consequences. Communities near chemical facilities will have less information about the risks they face—raising the danger to families and first responders in the case of accidents like the recent Arkema explosion in Houston ... The vice president may tout it as an accomplishment that the administration has derailed so many public health and safety protections. For the rest of us, though—particularly for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color—this is no victory. It's a willful failure by the administration to do its job protecting Americans."

The American Sustainable Business Council was among those pushing back against the familiar Republican argument that deregulating industries is somehow a cost-saving maneuver.

"Over-regulation was not the problem that led to banks creating the mortgage crisis, that in turn resulted in the loss of 200,000 small businesses and 8.7 million jobs throughout the United States," pointed out Richard Eidlin, co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council. "The Trump administration's deregulation approach based on the arbitrary benchmark of eliminating 'two existing regulations for every one new regulation' is ill-conceived and will not achieve meaningful regulatory reform. Placing focus solely on the costs of compliance instead of the benefits to society contradicts the goals of many of the laws that enable these regulations."

The government watchdog group Public Citizen called Trump's deregulation agenda a "craven attempt at self-enrichment and payback to corporate donors," adding, "in fact, robust regulation and enforcement are essential to economic prosperity."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, seen here speaking to the press about the Flint water crisis in 2016, will be the highest ranking official to stand trial over the public health disaster. Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Judge Orders Michigan Health Director to Face Trial Over Flint Water Crisis Deaths

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon will be the highest ranking official to go to trial so far as a result of an investigation into the Flint water crisis, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Judge David Goggins ruled Monday there was probable cause for Lyon to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder that prosecutors say were due to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that Lyon was aware of a year before he alerted Michigan's governor, Michigan Live reported. Lyons is also charged with misconduct in office.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Coal-fired power plant near Becker, Minnesota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump's 'Dirty Power Plan' Could Cost More Than 1,000 Lives a Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on Tuesday its long-anticipated replacement of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The new coal pollution rules will increase planet-warming carbon pollution and could cost more than a thousand American lives each year, according to the EPA's own estimates.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" today under President Trump's directive. The new plan encourages efficiency improvements at existing coal plants to ensure they operate longer and allows states to weaken, or even eliminate, coal emissions standards. That's a clear difference from former President Obama's plan, which was aimed at phasing out coal and transitioning to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Two workers in protective gear scrape asbestos tile and mastic from a facility at Naval Base Point Loma in California. NAVFAC / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Why Asbestos Is Still a Major Public Health Threat in the U.S.

Reports surfaced this month that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had proposed a significant new use rule (SNUR) for asbestos in June, requiring anyone who wanted to start or resume importing or manufacturing the carcinogenic mineral to first receive EPA approval.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Rklfoto / Getty Images

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Wants to End EPA’s Cruel Animal Testing

By Justin Goodman and Nathan Herschler

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its "questionable" and "dubious" animal tests. The lawmakers' demand for information on "horrific and inhumane" animal testing at the EPA comes on the heels of a recent Johns Hopkins University study that found that high-tech computer models are more effective than animal tests.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Wikimedia Commons

Strongest, Oldest Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and now the region's thickest and oldest sea ice—also known as "the last ice area"—is breaking up for the first time on record, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The breakage has opened up waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen-solid even in the peak of summer.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Climate Justice Edmonton

These Giant Portraits Will Stand in the Path of Trans Mountain Pipeline

By Andrea Germanos

To put forth a "hopeful vision for the future" that includes bold climate action, a new installation project is to be erected along the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route to harnesses art's ability to be a force for social change and highlight the fossil fuel project's increased threats to indigenous rights and a safe climate.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
A worker inspects recycled plastic in a plastics factory. Getty Images

The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About Recycling

By Kate O'Neill

A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called "National Sword" policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Aaron Teasdale

The One Thing Better Than Summer Skiing

By Aaron Teasdale

"There's snow up here, I promise," I assure my son Jonah, as we grunt up a south-facing mountainside in Glacier National Park in July. A mountain goat cocks its head as if to say, "What kind of crazy people hike up bare mountains in ski boots?" He's not the only one to wonder what in the name of Bode Miller we're doing up here with ski gear.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!