Nothing in this world is free, except perhaps the ride Trump and the Republican Party are giving Big Polluters.
Imagine large swaths of America that have become so deliberately polluted with toxic waste that they might not be able to sustain human or animal life. Before Trump, that would have been unthinkable. Today, toxic ‘dead zones’ are a genuine threat, thanks to the deregulation frenzy emerging from Trump’s efforts to ‘deconstruct’ the federal government.
The Trump administration plans to eliminate the United States Chemical Safety Board by cutting off its funding in the 2018 budget. If the agency is abolished, entire cities, towns, and hundreds of thousands of people could have their air and water poisoned and face greater risk of death or injury from chemical factory accidents.
Although the Chemical Safety Board only reports on the cause of accidents and makes non-binding safety recommendations, companies like Exxon-Mobile and Chevron would rather have that information kept secret, limiting their exposure to lawsuits and public safety regulations.
As the New York Times notes,
Chevron… delayed maintenance work at its century-old Richmond refinery led to a catastrophic pipe failure and fire, producing a towering cloud of toxic smoke. Nineteen workers only narrowly escaped death. The Chemical Safety Board found that the plant’s managers had failed to shut down the refinery’s crude unit even though they knew it had a hazardous leak. Fifteen thousand people who live near the refinery sought medical attention for smoke exposure.
The board found similar flaws in the safety culture of Exxon Mobil after a huge explosion in February 2015 at its refinery in Torrance, Calif. According to a recent Justice Department lawsuit, the blast catapulted a 40-ton piece of equipment perilously close to a tank containing thousands of gallons of hydrofluoric acid, which can form a toxic cloud when released. Exposure to hydrofluoric acid can cause serious injury and death, which is why many Torrance residents want it banned there.
The Trump administration is using the same tired argument that regulations are bad for businesses. However, a lack of them is even worse for people and the planet as a whole.
Nothing in this world is free, except perhaps the ride Trump and the Republican Party are giving Big Polluters. Under Trump’s Republican Party, oil companies and the coal industry are being ‘relieved’ of their moral and ethical responsibility to employ business practices that don’t put people and the planet at unreasonable risk – in the name of profits and laziness.
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