A World without Regulations
Gosh, that sounds really good….uh, but does that means everybody can do anything they want? Well, no, that went out when we came out of caves. Actually, the stated goal is to get rid of all those ‘unnecessary’ government regulations. Of course, that sounds great, but what are the unnecessary regulations? I guess, if you’re only interested in the bottom line, those are the regulations that cost you money. But maybe we do need some regulations, like vaccinating our dogs. Well, yeah, we all agree the regulation to vaccinate our dogs for Rabies is needed, so to find out the really unnecessary ones, we must look at the big picture.
Our Attorney General is suing the EPA to overturn new regulations that would force coal-fired electrical generating plants to reduce emissions, and in addition, a separate suit has been filed to rescind other recently mandated regulations that would reduce contaminated runoff into the state’s streams. Of course, the overall goal of the EPA is to clean up the air we breathe and the stream water in our Nation. Sounds okay, but if that is exactly what the new regulations would do, then why is our A G suing the EPA? Yes, you guessed it—-money, money, money. It’s the age old problem; short term goals to make as much money as possible, and ignore the long term consequences. Americans have been doing that since our country was founded.
When I was a boy growing up in South Arkansas, a common sight were the salt flats. Completely dead areas about fifty yards wide that bordered any stream that flowed through the oilfields. It was cheaper to dump saltwater into the streams than to dispose of it properly. If you were an oil producer you made more money by just killing the nearby creek. The rules our AG is suing the EPA to rescind will cost corporations and others money. It as simple as that. Those rules are part of the EPA’s overall plan to keep our citizens from suffering the horrible consequences of no regulations the Chinese are contending with. Today, the Chinese are wearing masks and factories are being shut down because of filthy, killing smog, and believe it or not, Mongolia is five times as bad! New-born babies are dying because of the dirty air. If that is so, and it is, then why, for God’s sake, are the Chinese doing it? The short version is very simple: the lack of regulations equals a short term profit, and they are putting money ahead of a better quality of life.
.Well, how have the lack of regulations in the past affected the average American? Let’s look at a simple example: I’d like to go Passenger Pigeon hunting today, but I can’t. Yeah, of course I know why—they’re extinct! Why are they extinct? A very simple answer is—no regulations and money. In the 1800s the sky was black with pigeons—an estimated 500,000,000. However, by the 1920 our great, great grandparents had killed all 500,000,000, and they made a profit doing so. In Arkansas, barrel after barrel of pigeon breasts were salted down and shipped down river to New Orleans, and the folks who slaughtered the Passenger Pigeons made money. I can’t walk through the former virgin forest that once covered our state either. Yep, we cut ’em all down and made a ton of money doing it.
Well, what’s the bottom line to all of this? It’s very simple: Regulations are a mark of a more civilized society, and the more civilized we become the better quality of life we have because of regulations, but if we put the goal of making as much money as possible, then we must adopt an overall goal to have little or no regulations.
The AG’s efforts to rescind air and water quality regulations are a step back from a more civilized America. It’s an effort to continue burning the dirtiest fuel on the planet, coal. But burning coal will not only reduce our air quality where big utilities can make more money, but it will add to the mercury in our fish. That’s right; the mercury found in our Arkansas fish is a direct result of coal and lignite burning plants in Arkansas and East Texas. Consequences? Consider how many babies have been born with a reduced I Q or other birth defects because their pregnant mother ate too much contaminated fish? That’s the price we pay to make money by burning coal.
Of course, many of our streams are almost open sewers because of the lack of meaningful regulations, and the Buffalo National River is in the process of becoming polluted by hog waste that will run off the land adjacent to Big Creek, a tributary the feeds the Buffalo National River. In five years the spineless Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will have a red face, because the National Park Service will close the River to swimming—but it will be too late. The river will be polluted for a generation.
No, we don’t want a world without regulations, unless making money is our only goal in life.