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The Midmorning Refill: "Using a bazooka to kill a fly"; industry's wish list of regulations to axe

Before we dive into our midmorning post, here’s a quote to amuse you:

It’s sort of like using a bazooka to get at a fly.

That’s from Public Citizen attorney Deepak Gupta, speaking to Politico’s Kenneth Vogel, about the Koch brothers’ attempt to intimidate environmental activists who pulled a prank on the climate change deniers.

Flickr photo by BrittneyBush

Speaking of huge industries, the list of regulations that Big Business wants to kill is circulating, and it’s not pretty:

CEO pay disclosure rules, whistleblower protections, derivatives regulation, rules requiring safety measures for contractors performing renovation  projects that disturb lead-based paint, rules requiring flammability tests for children’s mattresses, provisions in the 2007 Clean Energy Act that limit the ability of U.S. refiners to process oil sands from Canada, and rules relating to environmental regulation, financial reform, and health care and retirement benefits.

Industry groups  also want to kill safeguards that haven’t even been enacted but are just being discussed, such as provisions relating to hydraulic fracking, which involves injecting fluid into rock at high pressure to extract gas. The problem is, the fluids contain all kinds of nasty chemicals (diesel fuel is sometimes used) that may get into drinking water supplies.

The Huffington Post’s Marcus Baram lists even more: proposals to limit harmful emissions from boilers, regulate greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the nation’s ambient air quality standard, increase rearward visibility in vehicles and limit the compounds allowable in aerosol paint.

So if Big Business got its way  – and you have to admit, industry has a lot of clout in Washington these days, thanks in no small part to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – contractors would be exposed to more hazards, kids’ mattresses could catch fire more easily, derivatives traders could go right back to doing what they did to help fuel the economic collapse,  oil and gas companies could inject all kinds of noxious chemicals into the earth, and our air quality could get even worse.

And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because this is what has leaked out. The lawmaker who solicited these wish lists, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is refusing to share the information with fellow lawmakers. That has prompted Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to send letters to industry groups asking pretty please for them to share the lists with him. He wrote:

[w]ithholding Committee records is not only a violation of House rules, but a waste of time that could have been avoided with the smallest degree of bipartisan cooperation.”

Your tax dollars at work.