Friday, May 10, 2013

"In rural Texas, no one votes for regulation."

That is a quote from the engineer for McLennan County, Stephen T. Hendrick.  It appears in a New York Times story headlined, "After Plant Explosion, Texas Remains Wary of Regulation," by Ian Urbina, Manny Fernandez, and John Schwartz.   The feature, which discusses the aftermath of the fertilizer facility explosion in mid April in the town of West, asserts that "the state’s pro-business, limited-government mantra has been a vital part of its identity." The journalists support that proposition by referring to state and local responses to the West disaster, one of the worst industrial disasters on record.  The mayor of West, like Governor Rick Perry, has asserted that more regulation would not have prevented the explosion.

Also illustrating the state's "free market posture," the authors of the story write:
It is the only state that does not require companies to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage. It boasts the largest city in the country, Houston, with no zoning laws. It does not have a state fire code, and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes. Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there.
As Prof. Thomas McGarity of the University of Texas Law School asserts, it's a "wild west approach to protecting public health and safety."  

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