There is a constant battle between conservatives (aka Republicans, or stoopid people) and liberals (aka Democrats, or smart people) as to how to regulate industry. Republicans say “don’t regulate industry at all.” Why? because they are paid by industry to say this. If you think there is anything else going on here you are not even a tiny bit as smart as you think you are and should go back to school.
Each Republican congress tries to remove regulation, and each administration tries to weaken the existing regulation. Currently, the Bush Administration is planning to remove all the power of the Endangered Species act and thus cause wolves, rare bunny rabbits, cute owls and if he can manage it, the pandas and the whales to be obliterated from the face of the Earth. Why? Because they are paying him to do this.
Years ago I was a contract archaeologist. This meant doing the archeology and historical preservation parts of the Environmental Impact Assessments and Statements, codified in Federal Regulation (as well as State regulation, depending). I remember when Ronald Regan was elected president. All the engineering firms, state agencies, etc. who normally were required by law to contract archaeologists and other environmental science consultants to get working on various studies pursuant to detailed design and construction (of pipelines, roads, etc.) simply decided to not contact anyone to have any of that work done, because the Republicans had promised to remove the regulations. (Well, not everyone failed in their legal duty, but most did, frankly.)
It turns out that federal regulations are the pragmatic implementation of law which is often the legal implementation of other laws or of rights of some sort, and thus one cannot simply say “Oh, we’re in charge now, and we’re Republicans, so we’ll have the Tyranny of Industry running things now, spottend owls (and other endangered species) and ancient Indian sites be damned…”
No, you can’t just do that and get away with it. But you can threaten to do it, and as a result, people start to ignore the law, and later we find ourselves letting this or that archaeological site get destroyed and some other sites get less attention than they deserve because the delays caused by the thread of deregulation have generated a situation where small businesses will go under if we don’t give them a break.
That is what is known as irresponsible ideologically dogmatic governance. The specialty of the stoopid Republicans and other conservatives.
The Bush administration on Monday said it plans to let federal agencies decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants.
The proposal, which does not require the approval of Congress, would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews that government scientists have been performing for 35 years. Developers welcomed the plan, while environmentalists derided it….
They are saying that this is simply a measure to streamline the process, but it is not. It is a measure to allow the presidential ideology in power at the moment to directly determine the outcome of the process. This will literally cause the extinction of species right now, this year or next, if it is put into place. And later, if Jerry Brown or somebody becomes president, it will cause the shutdown of all hydroelectric facilities and other extreme measures. Clearly, the people behind this do not understand the consequendes of their actions.