Letters to the Editor

Says regulations keep companies in line

Guess what dear libertarian friends, regulation works and saves lives, such as the story “Valve defect led to oil train leaks” in the Bellingham Herald March 14.

Do you think the anonymous owners of leaky oil train cars would have bothered to fix them without a regulatory order? The correction will cost money and to corporations more expenses equals less profit they won’t spend unless forced to do so.

In Quebec last year after an horrendous oil train accident destroyed much of the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic and killed 47 people, the companies responsible simply went bankrupt and will never (as if they could) pay for the damage they incurred. This year each month we hear of another oil derailing and fire. I believe there is a real risk, particularly as more and more of these trains go through our area.

I believe the situation is similar in a way to the thalidomide tragedy of the ‘50s and ‘60s. At the time thalidomide was recommended for nausea of pregnancy. The company was pushing to market it despite reports of many horrendous birth defects elsewhere. The U.S. was spared because of an alert physician, Frances Kelsey, of the FDA (yes a regulator) who resisted company pressure to release the drug to the U.S. market.

Paul Goff