Conservative politicians rarely speak of government regulations without accompanying adjectives: “burdensome”, “unnecessary”, and “job-killing” come to mind. By turning environmental, labor, and financial protections into dirty words, our elected officials show whom they really work for: corporations, not citizens. A Look at recent events on the Gulf Coast gives another perspective: we see exploding chemical plants, leaking petroleum products, and flooded superfund sites causing pollution, injury, and death. These are the kinds of problems that those meddling regulations are meant to address. Sure, corporations make more profit when they don’t have to protect the environment, or their workers, or nearby communities from harm. But who suffers when something goes wrong?
Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and severity. The Texas coast has had three “thousand year storms” in eighteen months. Ignoring climate change won’t stop it. Strengthening and enforcing regulations that protect us from hurricanes, drought, wildfires, and other worsening climate issues, is a better way to use public resources than are building border walls and increasing military spending.
The government does not control the weather. But it should do what is in its power to protect citizens from its effects, as well as pursuing energy and industrial policies that minimize these effects.
John M. Hartman