If a Few Dozen People Have to Die to Make Coal Dust More Profitable, That's The American Way

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To truly appreciate how our government works on behalf of money rather than human beings, please read this story about how an obscure but lifesaving workplace safety regulation was trashed at the request of the companies that it would regulate.

The Trump era has been so soaked in large outrageous act that many smaller, also significant outrageous acts get lost in the shuffle. Reuters has published a magnificent tick-tock on a topic that I am sure you have never even thought about: workplace safety regulations, passed in the final days of the Obama administration, that protect shipyard workers from exposure to beryllium, a carcinogen present in the coal grit that workers use to sandblast the sides of ships.

Beryllium is deadly; OSHA estimated that its new regulations would “avert four deaths a year in the shipbuilding and construction sectors,” and save the nation $16 million a year, everything considered. Naturally, as soon as Trump took office, the industries being regulated hired two DC lobbying firms to roll back the new rules. You’ll be amazed how cheap and easy it was for them to do so! (It cost them less than $300K. Sorry to spoil it.)


Do read the entire story for many illuminating details about how simple it is to buy access to power that will literally cost people their lives but will also save companies a few bucks. This quote does a fine job of summing up the Republican philosophy of worker safety?

OSHA officials “have a mentality that there’s no such thing as too much safety,” said Ike Brannon, president of Capital Policy Analytics, a consulting firm that advises businesses on regulatory issues. Previously a chief economist for several Republican congressional offices, Brannon says the beryllium rule’s construction and shipyard provisions reflect a broken regulatory system that tends to “discount” business impacts, “like lost jobs or greater compliance costs.”

Your job gave you cancer... but on the bright side, you had a job!