July 31, 2013
King-Blunt Bill on Regulations Would Give Big Industries Yet Another Tool to Block Clean Air, Food Safety, Consumer Product Safeguards
Statement of Amit Narang, Regulatory Policy Advocate for Public Citizen
Note: On Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced the “Regulatory Improvement Act of 2013.” The bill would create a “Regulatory Improvement Commission” to “review outdated regulations with the goal of modifying, consolidating, or repealing regulations.”
In the wake of a series of contaminated food outbreaks, the BP oil spill and out-of-control big banks nearly sinking the economy, we need more public protections, not fewer. Just the other month, a fertilizer facility in Texas exploded and killed 15 people after no regulatory agency appeared to be watching closely enough. It makes no sense for Senators King and Blunt to now propose cutting back public protections.
Reviewing rules to see if they need to be adjusted is a good idea in theory, but this bill sets up a process with a pre-determined outcome of eliminating public protections. Any kind of oversight commission should have a much more balanced mission and be empowered to look for regulatory gaps – to help prevent the next contaminated food outbreak or oil spill.
This bill gives big businesses another chance to push politicians to weaken existing environmental, health and safety rules that continue to protect the public. There are far more direct and effective ways to improve the regulatory process; we could and should address the chronic delays in a system that currently leaves the public at risk and costs American lives every day.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.