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Why We Can’t Regulate: Industry's Catalogue of Excuses

By Carolyn Raffensperger Note:  Just last week I heard yet another reason why a government agency couldn't regulate toxic chemicals in children's toys.  That incident inspired me to compile all the excuses I've heard over the years about why the public has to put up with the polluting, damming, bulldozing, and mining destruction of the Earth.  Why exactly can't we get industry to take responsibility for their actions?  Why exactly is it that government can't prevent or minimize harm to the public?  Here's the list.

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1. We can’t regulate because there is no proof that this (toxic chemical, power plant, dam, mining operation) is harmful.

2. Even if you demonstrate that this is harmful you can’t regulate it because you will take away jobs.

3. Even if you show that we still will have jobs, you can’t regulate this because the agency doesn’t have the authority since: (choose one)

  • A. the facility is outside its political jurisdiction
  • B. the legislature hasn’t granted the authority to regulate
  • C.  it is unconstitutional and  conflicts with the Commerce Clause or the nonDelegation doctrine.

4. We can’t regulate it because the agency doesn’t have the money/staff to handle it.

5. The feds can’t regulate it because it interferes with states’ rights.

6. The states can’t regulate it because it is under federal law.

7.  We can’t regulate this (pesticide, flame retardant, plasticizer) because if you do you will have sick and dying babies who won’t have enough to eat, or will burn up in their cribs, or will break their bottles. even if they are poisoned with toxic chemicals.

8. We can’t regulate it because we don’t have any alternative.

9. We can’t regulate it because it is a taking and and the business will require compensation for the lost business.

10. We can’t regulate this because the courts will overturn the regulation.

11. The courts won’t act because they can’t usurp the legislator’s responsibility.

12. We can’t regulate because the market will solve the problem.

13. But we can’t provide our confidential business information to the public because then the consumer won’t buy our product and the economy will collapse.

14. We can’t regulate because the public isn’t ready for such a big change.

15. We can’t regulate this because regulation is (choose one)

  • A. Socialism
  • B. Communism
  • C. Fascism
  • D. UnAmerican
  • E. All of the above

0. Besides, there is no proof that this (toxic chemical, power plant, dam, mining operation) is harmful.