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                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NYT: Bush guts OSHA

Must-read NYT from Stephen Labaton:

Since George W. Bush became president, OSHA has issued the fewest significant standards in its history, public health experts say. It has imposed only one major safety rule. The only significant health standard it issued was ordered by a federal court.

The agency has killed dozens of existing and proposed regulations and delayed adopting others. For example, OSHA has repeatedly identified silica dust, which can cause lung cancer, and construction site noise as health hazards that warrant new safeguards for nearly three million workers, but it has yet to require them.

The article highlights the story of one worker in a plant that produces "buttery flavored microwave popcorn" who will need a double lung transplant due to the chemicals he was exposed to, chemicals that everyone involved knew were bad.

The report is infuriating and a must-read, especially for what has become a familiar refrain from the Bush Administration: a Republican addiction to "conservative beliefs" that defy facts:

[Edwin G. Foulke Jr.], the OSHA chief, has a history of opposing regulations produced by the agency he now leads. He has described himself as a “true Ronald Reagan Republican” who “firmly believes in limited government.” Before coming to Washington last year, Mr. Foulke, a former Republican Party state chairman in South Carolina and top political fund-raiser, worked in Greenville, S.C., for a law firm that advises companies on how to avoid union organizing...

Early in his tenure at OSHA, Mr. Foulke delivered a speech called “Adults Do the Darndest Things,” which attributed many injuries to worker carelessness. Large posters of workers’ making dangerous errors, like erecting a tall ladder close to an overhead wire, were displayed around him. [snip]

"On diacetyl...[and]...whether the additive causes bronchiolitis obliterans, the disease that has been called “popcorn worker’s lung"...Mr. Foulke said “the science is murky”

Read the entire, excellent piece if you can stomach it. It is, in a nutshell, the epitome of everything that is wrong with electing a party to run the government that doesn't believe in government and who could care less who pays the price.

It's time we kicked these "true Ronald Reagan Republicans" out of the White House.

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