Regulatory safeguards play a vital role in protecting us from hazards and ensuring that companies that pollute, make unsafe products, and create workplace hazards bear the cost of cleaning up their messes and preventing injuries and deaths. Still, the regulatory system is far from perfect: Rules take too long to develop; enforcement is often feeble; and political pressure from regulated industries has led to weak safeguards.
These systemic problems are made all the more severe by the determination of the Trump administration to undercut sensible safeguards across virtually all aspects of federal regulation. Moreover, the President and his team have taken aim at the the process by which such safeguards are developed, aiming to take a system already slanted in favor of industry profit at the expense of health, safety and the environment, and make it even less protective. For example, where critics of the use of cost-benefit analysis see a system that understates the value of safeguards and overstates the cost of implementing them -- making it difficult to adopt needed protections -- the Trump administration seeks simply to ignore benefits of safeguards, pretending they do not exist. The result is a regulatory system that fails to enforce landmark laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and more.
CPR exposes and opposes efforts by opponents of sensible safeguards to undermine the regulatory system, fighting back against knee-jerk opposition to environmental, health, and safety protections. Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.
Writing for Huffington Post and ACSBlog, Renat Steinzor observes that, in the wake of a series of accidents related to a defective ignition switch in GM cars, the "Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into GM’s conduct and the next attorney general will decide whether and how to charge the company. President Obama’s nominee, Loretta Lynch, will need to make a break with the misguided policies of her predecessor, Eric Holder, when the GM case hits her desk."
In 2013, about 25,000 Maryland workers suffered on-the-job injuries severe enough to force them to miss a day or more of work; 78 of them actually died from their injuries. Year after year, a few tragic fact patterns repeat more often than you might expect: arborists crushed by falling trees, construction workers tumbling from ladders and roadwork crews run over by passing motorists.
In The Hill, Rena Steinzor writes, "Over the last two years, we've seen a raft of bills aimed at hobbling federal agencies as they work to write regulations implementing such landmark legislation as the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Water Act, as well as newer laws like the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank banking reform law. Their efforts are backed by a flood of anti-regulation rhetoric from think tanks and industry associations that warn of a tsunami of regulation under President Obama. A tsunami? Hardly. The truth is that the Obama Administration hasn't been anywhere near as aggressive as it could and should be."
Writing for the Center for American Progress website, Christopher Schroeder and Rena Steinzor, co-editors of CPR's book, A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment, offer a summary of the work, which features contributions from 20 CPR Member Scholars.