If elected president, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has drawn up an ambitious agenda for his first day in office. At the top of his list is scuttling pending regulations that include proposals designed to protect public health and the environment.
"The first thing I'm going to do on day one," Romney proclaims, "is to stop in their tracks all those regulations put in place by President Obama."
(A President Romney couldn't tamper with laws already on the books, but he could block proposed regulations and reverse some of Obama's executive orders with executive orders of his own.)
So let's see, what are some of the Obama regulations that would qualify for Romney's opening day chopping block?
Rules to curb polluting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and automobile tailpipes would make the grade. So would regulations to reduce mercury, soot and other toxic pollutants discharged from boilers and cement kilns. A provision to protect streams from mountaintop mining's contaminated spoil would be deep-sixed.
Romney would probably ditch proposed rules to reduce storm water runoff and pesticide discharges into our waterways. A regulation to designate coal ash as hazardous waste would be withdrawn as would a proposed moratorium on uranium mining in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon and a provision to strengthen protection of the nation's wetlands.
These regulations would be indefinitely shelved, Romney says, if they would cost any American jobs. What an incentive for industry to fire a few employees simply to trigger avoidance of the higher costs of stricter environmental compliance.
Even if a pending Obama environmental rule presented too credible a justification to be summarily dismissed, Romney says it would not survive his "day one" unless a regulation of "equal scale" was cancelled. In other words, for a proposed strong effective regulation to be enacted, a strong effective one on the books would have to be rescinded. That is not engaging in responsible governance of our national regulatory system.
By Romney's own admission, he intends to raise havoc with the nation's environmental regulatory protection in his first day in office. Come the second day, one shudders to think what he would do for an encore.