Regulation vs de-regulation and disasters

Paul Cherubini cherubini at
Mon Jun 12 12:56:17 EDT 2000

Michael Gochfeld wrote:
> I was going to mention the Petroleum industry as precisely an example of
> bad management and weak regulation enhancing or allowing disasters, but
> Paul beat me to it by suggesting that it was an example of non-disaster.
> Unless we think that the Santa Barbara blowout, the dozens of tanker
> wrecks and oil spills (see Burger OIL SPILLS, Rutgers Univ Press) for
> documentation) are NOT disasters (or are acts of god), I think petroleum
> would qualify. 

My point is that despite continued mergers and consolidation in the petroleum
industry, the oil spill safety record of the industry continues to improve. The 
petroleum products they make for society are burning cleaner than ever. The
air and water quality in highly industrialized nations continues to improve.

By analogy, I don't understand why continued mergers and consolidation
in the plant breeding industry should be cause for alot of fear, worry and 

With regard to oil spills, in ecology classes we learn that crude oil leaks
into the ocean have been a natural phenomonen since the days before man 
walked the earth. The environment recovers rapidly from such incidents 
and from pesticide spills (e.g. one can now fish under the bridge where
a train detrailment leaked thousands of gallons of herbicide into the
Sacramento River in northern California).

Paul Cherubini

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