White House unleashes OSHA for revenge against hated industries
The Obama administration is using more than just the Environmental Protection Agency to “crucify” businesses it doesn’t like. Congress won’t enact any gun-control measures, and the American people aren’t interested in paying more at the pump. So President Obama has to get a lot more creative in pushing his anti-gun, anti-affordable-energy agenda. His latest technique is dispatching the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to wage small-scale battles against guns and oil.
On June 21, the agency announced a “safety stand-down” at oil and gas operations that will run through July 20. The idea is to temporarily stop work while a bureaucrat performs an inspection. “It is hoped that the stand-down will not only heighten awareness for workers in the oil-and-gas industry, but also identify and eliminate work-related hazards,” John Hermanson, OSHA’s regional administrator in Dallas, said in a statement.
One day earlier, the agency issued a grave warning regarding the purported hazards of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an essential technique for extracting oil and gas from difficult locations. OSHA’s complaint is that fracking exposes employees to “respirable crystalline silica.” That’s a fancy word for the dust kicked up by trucks and other vehicles on a job site. It’s a bit suspicious that OSHA bureaucrats haven’t warned of the same danger at, say, archaeological digs at native American heritage sites.
To be sure, the affordable-fuels industry needs to take the safety of its employees seriously, but it’s increasingly clear that the Obama administration’s goals reach well beyond ensuring a safe work environment. That’s clear from OSHA’s outrageous issuance of $111,000 in proposed fines on June 11 against Illinois Gun Works, a firing range located in the Chicago suburbs.