The Latest Left-on-Left War: Formaldehyde

by Mike Stenhouse

McKee & Whitehouse Should Take Sides

Formaldehyde is a chemical compound used by morticians as an embalming fluid to preserve bodies after death. But now, the EPA, in typical Left-wing double-speak, is seeking to restrict the use of this chemical to the point where it could lead to the death of industries and jobs in Rhode Island and across America … including industries the EPA and the climate-activist Left, themselves, avidly support.

For years I have commented how competing progressive and woke special interests on the Left will not for long be able to peacefully co-exist without major battles against each other flaring up. Such conflicts are inevitable when certain victim-based agendas are recklessly pursued to the point where they threaten goals of some other left-wing interest group.

The Left loves to invent boogey-men that it then seeks to destroy, no matter who gets stomped on: petroleum, tobacco, plastic bags, gas-powered cars, propane appliances, etc.

And it’s often their own allies that they stomp. Take vaping products, a boogey-man Governor McKee seeks to demolish via his proposed massive tax on e-cigarettes, which would create a major disincentive for smokers to ‘kick the habit’ of using unhealthy tobacco products. Left-on-Left war.

Another example is wind farms. On one side of the Left, climate alarmists are furiously pushing to develop these massive offshore and land-based projects; while on the other side, naturalists are fighting to save the whales, birds, and other marine- and wild-life that are being killed by the construction and operation of these colossal machines.

Now, the EPA is brewing up a new battle. Its proposed new regulations on formaldehyde would severely disrupt supply-chains in the building, semiconductor, aerospace, automotive industries and … yes … even the wind farm industry. Yet, the EPA says formaldehyde poses an “unreasonable risk to human health” … it has become the Left’s latest boogey-man that must be slayed.

Known as a “building block” chemical in many manufacturing and industrial products, and while it is indeed highly toxic if directly inhaled, formaldehyde has been safely used in the manufacture of a multitude of products for over a century.

The EPA’s proposed restrictions are so severe, that it would put US manufacturing companies at a major disadvantage with worldwide competitors, where related rules on formaldehyde are far more economically friendly. But even another federal agency, OSHA, has long supported this chemical’s safe use, as part of its mission to protect the health and safety of American workers.

Here in Rhode Island, passage of this EPA regulation would immediately undermine the development of key industries targeted by state and federal lawmakers for future growth, by making it too expensive to produce competitively-priced products. Rhode Island’s Providence-Warwick region was recently designated by the US Department of Commerce as one of 31 ”Tech Hubs”; but as almost all industries face global competition, restricting the use of an economical and effective component-product such as formaldehyde, would artificially raise the cost and reduce the quality of related products, as compared to the rest of the world.

But more to the point of this column, these proposed regulations on formaldehyde would also put the EPA at odds with another cause it is heavily invested in … the wind farm industry. Left-on-Left war.

Formaldehyde is a critical component in wind turbines. It is used to make epoxy resins, which are used in the composites needed to make the skin of the rotors. These protect the blades from erosion, shrinkage, and secure insulators, coils, and other critical components of the turbines. They often protect steel towers and concrete that saltwater could quickly erode. Additionally, formaldehyde-based resins are utilized to encapsulate turbine control systems, safeguarding sensitive electronic components from moisture and temperature fluctuations. Failure to preserve and protect these parts could lead to environmental issues, causing damage to our beautiful coasts and shorelines.

Further, by restricting the use of this chemical, the economic costs of wind-farms would rise significantly, placing added burdens on taxpayers who heavily subsidize such onshore and offshore projects.

And now, inevitably, some on the Left are fighting the EPA. In a bipartisan letter led by Democratic US Rep. from North Carolina, Don Davis, these members of Congress noted that formaldehyde is used in a number of products, such as construction materials, cars and ammunition. If the EPA were to impose tighter regulations on the chemical, they argue, it would risk disrupting supply chains, recently stressed to the breaking point by inflation and the pandemic. They propose, conversely, that formaldehyde regulations simply be brought in line with accepted standards in other parts of the world.

Rhode Island’s Governor, Dan McKee, and our US Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, are each outspoken advocates for wind-powered electrical generation. They should be just as outspoken and takes sides by supporting Davis’ letter to the EPA … if they are honest in seeking to advance their green agendas.

And while conservatives like me believe, for many other reasons, that wind-farms are not a viable solution to reducing carbon-emissions … it should not be government over-reach in the form of oppressive regulations on critical component, such as formaldehyde, that causes the death of jobs in the wind and other industries, critical to our state and national economy.

This Left-on-Left war does not need to be fought; the EPA must be convinced to relent.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in The Ocean State Current, including text, graphics, images, and information are solely those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the views and opinions of The Current, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, or its members or staff. The Current cannot be held responsible for information posted or provided by third-party sources. Readers are encouraged to fact check any information on this web site with other sources.

  • No products in the cart.