Letter: Systems under stress

Friday, September 22, 2017 10:2AM
Systems under stress

To the editor,

It is during stress that systems are tested. A cardiac stress test can reveal abnormalities not seen in regular daily life. In hurricanes, many systems are tested. State and federal emergency management systems, our volunteer organizations, energy infrastructure, etc.

Irma and Harvey tested systems in Florida and Texas. Some performed well, others did not. Under Trump, our EPA has been gutted. During Harvey, a chemical plant caught fire, emitting unknown chemicals. There was no EPA to monitor and test those emissions. Regulations on chemical plants were enacted under Obama and scheduled to go into effect last January but their implementation was delayed by Trump’s EPA Director, Scott Pruitt, and fought by Texas Senator Cornyn and other GOP lawmakers. It has been reported that the imperiled Arkema facility in Houston houses large amounts of toxic sulfur dioxide and flammable methylpropene, both of which can cause severe burns and breathing difficulties.

In Florida, Irma winds caused some nursing homes to lose power for days during sweltering heat. Four nursing home residents died, despite the facility being just 50 yards from a hospital. Nursing home regulations, too, have been gutted. They are now required to purchase only minimal liability insurance. They have become ideal investments for hedge funds since the investment carries almost no risk. Despite caring for the most vulnerable, they operate strictly for profit.

Trump’s mantra is that regulations are stifling the economy and his administration is gutting them on our behalf. This false and dangerous. Gutting regulations will help only Trump’s corporate billionaire friends whose business model is greed.

I believe it was Republican President Teddy Roosevelt who warned that government should be as large as the corporations in order to reign in unfettered capitalism and protect the common man. Our regulatory system is under attack and we, the people, are left more vulnerable. We should remember Teddy Roosevelt’s warnings.

Susan Levin Wessels