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Arbitrary Executive Order on Regulations Threatens Public Health

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

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The arbitrary executive order signed today by President Donald Trump threatens public health. He is calling on agencies to hold regulatory costs on industry to zero without accounting for the public health benefits of regulation, and to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation issued.

It’s fair to assume that this latest edict was not run by any of the agencies that actually do the serious business of regulating. If it were, Trump might have learned that not all regulations are reflexively opposed by the businesses affected by them. Certainly in the food safety world, responsible business leaders supported the Food Safety Modernization Act, which required the writing of new regulations that keep produce, packaged foods, and imports safe.

Rather, this executive order springs from a cartoonish and unsophisticated view of the regulations that keep our air clean, our water potable, our food safe, our planes from crashing, and so on, and ignores the public health benefits of those rules. It may make for a fine photo opportunity but this edict signed today is not itself serious. The consequences, though, may well be.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).