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Attacking Public Protections and Endangering Americans Is Not Presidential

Feb. 20, 2017

Attacking Public Protections and Endangering Americans Is Not Presidential

Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Heading into the Presidents Day weekend, President Donald Trump attacked public protections in his weekly address, singling out two rules repealed last week under the Congressional Review Act.

This Presidents Day weekend, Donald Trump celebrated signing laws that will endanger regular Americans.

Trump, with the help of congressional Republicans, repealed two critical regulatory protections last week. One would have stopped big oil companies from bribing governments at the expense of nearby communities. The other would have protected our streams and rivers from coal and mining companies intent on dumping toxic chemicals into our irrigation and drinking water.

These protections are now gone – likely payback to the giant energy corporations that played a huge role in funding Republican campaigns. Since these protections were wiped out using the Congressional Review Act, we may never get them back. Communities across the country will pay the price in the form of more corrupted governments and more polluted water.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, in celebrating this “major step,” Trump repeated a number of thoroughly discredited claims that blame public protections for a variety of economic ills. Americans have had just about enough of Trump’s alternative facts. Here is the truth: Regulations are the safeguards that benefit consumers and small businesses, spur innovation (PDF) and create jobs – and the benefits of regulation are as much as 12 times (PDF) the costs.

Americans in both parties expect our presidents to look out for our communities and protect our natural resources. Endangering all of us to pay back giant corporations – and then attempting to mislead us about it – is repellent behavior.