By Dave Sullivan-Nightengale
Recently, MinnPost’s Cyndy Brucato, a known conservative stalwart in Minnesota media politics, interviewed the Libertarian Party of Minnesota’s vice chair S.L. Malleck. The intersection of accusations levied against the Independence Party of Minnesota with misguided information on government and third-party approval agency regulatory environment demands my attention.
Obviously, I’m a member of the IP. Those who know me in my paid-professional environment know I work with exida, Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual, and both government and non-government approvals agencies and standards bodies. I’ve also helped to develop DoD regulations on safety and industry regulations on unmanned aircraft. I know what works and what doesn’t in various regulatory frameworks of many national and international organizations when it comes to transportation safety, functional safety, and environmental protection. While I don’t always agree with and cannot represent the IP on each of these issues, I can certainly levy my expert opinion on the issues.
You don’t need to go far to see how misguided an unregulated environment would be if the Libertarian Party had its way. The bottom line, is we’ve done it the Libertarian way before and got a lot of people killed and raised taxes and our national debt the Libertarian way.
For example, the recent General Motors recalls for ignition switch failures, the Takata air bag recall, the Honda seat belt recall of 1995, and the VW emissions cheating scandal clearly show that third party approval agencies alone are not enough to self-regulate.
What does work is when government and industry work together to develop consensus standards that are scientifically objective. Commercial aircraft development is a shining example of a highly-regulated environment by both government and commercial standards.
When government goes it alone, like the Department of Defense often does with its standards, the standards are too often tied to just a few people in government who really understand them thoroughly to implement them. As a result, this adds expense end stymies good ideas about how to design and test things that are safety critical like boats, power plants, cars, offshore oil platforms, trains and planes.
We know both regulatory extremes are bad for the public. Both lack public input and oversight due to through government bureaucracy or private industry secrecy. We know the consumer cannot regulate the industry because we keep buying products and services that kill us! We allow trains with DOT111 cars full of oil that are uncrashworthy within 50 feet of our houses – one failure away from incinerating our loved ones within seconds. All it takes is for one worker to inadvertently leave a derailer on a track or for a switch to be a few inches out of position.
Join me, and together we can engineer solutions for our future that make sense, are verifiable, and where we can hold both government and industry accountable.
Dave Sullivan-Nightengale is the the IP-supported candidate for St. Paul City Council in Ward 5. You can learn more about him here.