We read with interest an excellent op-ed in the Baltimore Sun from Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform (and a law professor of mine at University of Maryland’s law school), that points out that the regulatory failures leading up to the BP mess in the gulf is just one of a continuing series of failures of government to properly regulate industry for the protection of the public, the work force, and the environment.
Indeed the similarities are saddening: government regulatory agencies with conflicts of interest, failures of enforcement, and captured by the money and influence of Washington lawyers and lobbyists. So we get a gulf full of oil, cars with faulty accelerators, coal companies with horrendous safety records, and salmonella in peanut products throughout the food system. And those are only the recent examples. As Steinzor says, “The only reliable, long-term solution is to putting strong and independent regulators back on the beat and self-serving lobbyists on the back benches.”