The administration has been replying to critics of the attack on regulatory policy that its choices are being proved right, because things are getting better on the job and in the environment.
Reports suggest that the trends may not necessarily back the administration's claims about its policy choices.
Workplace Health and Safety: The agencies that should be protecting the men and women in America who work for a living have not been doing their job. OSHA has not been producing fair rules that apply to all employers across the board but has instead been issuing suggestions for good practices. Although OSHA routinely counters that workplace fatality rates are falling, Newsday reports that, according to government data, "the rate has been been dropping steadily since 1994, and data released last month show the fatality rate steady but number of deaths slightly up in 2003."
Environment: The administration typically defends its many rollbacks of environmental protections by arguing that the air is getting cleaner, water is getting purer, etc. Knight-Ridder is reporting a different picture:
Over the past 30 years, the nation's air and water have become dramatically cleaner, but the steady improvement has stalled or gone into reverse in several areas since Bush took office, according to government statistics. On Bush's watch, America's environment deteriorated in many critical areas - including the quality of air in cities and the quality of water that people drink - and gained in very few.
Knight Ridder compiled 14 pollution-oriented indicators from government and university statistics. Nine of the 14 indicators showed a worsening trend, two showed improvements and three others zigzagged.
What's been getting worse? Superfund cleanups of toxic wastes; fish that are safe enough to eat; oceans safe enough to swim in; asthma attacks. Or how about public lands that have been set aside for conservation? -- this administration has "approved 74 percent more permits to drill for oil and gas on public lands in its first three years than were granted in the previous three years." Get the details in Seth Borenstein, "Environment Worsened Under Bush in Many Key Areas, Data Show," Knight-Ridder, Oct. 13, 2004.back to Blog