Maine business owners oppose Trump’s attempt to weaken health and safety rules

Maine business owners oppose Trump’s attempt to weaken health and safety rules

The Maine Small Business Coalition has submitted a letter to the offices of Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, signed by a hundred Maine small business owners, asking them to preserve federal safeguards and oppose S. 951, the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA). The RAA, which passed the House earlier this year and is currently being considered by the Senate, would make it significantly harder for federal agencies to issue new rules to protect the safety of our food and drugs, ensure dangerous chemicals do not end up in consumer products, and make air travel as safe as possible, among many others.

“Without effective federal safeguards in place, I would be scared to do business,” said Gibran Graham, owner of The Briar Patch, a children’s books and toy store in Bangor. “I need to know that the products I’m selling won’t make my customers sick and that means federal agencies need to be able to do their jobs. That’s why I hope King and Collins will oppose the RAA.”

The submitted letter includes many of the business owners’ concerns about the bill, including:

• The RAA would allow endless delay of safeguards because its provisions enable any opponent of a regulation to drag out the project by requiring the agency to engage in more policy analysis.
• This bill risks public health and safety by requiring agencies to overemphasize the cost and undefined ‘cost effectiveness’ of compliance when establishing protections.
• The bill creates new opportunities for industry and polluters to tie up the process with trial-like formal hearings, and it creates numerous new opportunities to sue agencies in court in order to slow down the process of finalizing and implementing new safeguards.
• The bill includes a ‘gag order that greatly restricts an agency from ‘communicat[ing] through written, oral, electronic, or other means, to the public’ about why a standard once it is has been proposed. That means that agencies might not be allowed to correct the record even if opponents make false or misleading statements about it.

“This bill will further tip the playing field towards the biggest corporations and against local Maine business owners and the communities that they support,” said Will Ikard, director of the Coalition. “The current rulemaking process is design to give all interested parties, regardless of how much money they can spend on lawyers and lobbyists, an equal say. So-called ‘reforms’ like the RAA make it easier for the largest corporations to wield their financial power and game the system for their benefit. That hurts Maine families and Maine small businesses alike.”

Senators King and Collins have yet to announce how they plan to vote on RAA. A Senate floor vote is expected as early as this week.

Photo: An MSBC event at the Briar Patch last year.


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