I am constantly amazed at the impact that government regulations have on everything we do. It can be as simple as where a fire extinguisher has to be placed in a retail establishment, to the size and placement of a mop sink in a restaurant. It extends to the Affordable Care Act and the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service, which some politicians want to abolish. Everyone seems to be oppressed by all the regulations. Yet, we also want regulations to exist. At least those with a perceived opportunity.
Google could not get the State of California to allow a vehicle without a steering wheel, throttle, and brake pedal. Instead, California came out with regulations for self-driving cars in December that still require the ability for a driver to take control. So, not getting what they want in the state, they turn to the Federal agencies. The argument, as can be expected, becomes one of scale. Google argues that different state rules will hamper the growth of the industry. Therefore, a federal regulation needs to preempt anything the states do.
Amazon wants to be able to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere using whatever last mile technology and logistics system they can find. They, too, don’t want states to make regulations for the use of drones. Rather, they want the federal government, the FAA in particular, to make rules for the entire country. They seem to be disappointed by the rules that say there must be a licensed pilot involved.
Everyone is discussing the proposed GHG 2 rules of the EPA and NHTSA. Those on the side of clean air and sustainability of the environment argue the proposal does not go far enough. Those who have to buy the equipment argue it goes too far. States rights versus the federal government comes into play here, as well. California wants to, and by its own laws, must go further to reduce NOx. An unusual situation gives California the right to push for stricter rules, and several states are allowed to adopt the California rules.
It’s amazing to me, after 240 years since we declared independence from Great Britain and 229 years since the US Constitution was signed in 1787, we are still arguing states rights versus federal rights. When will we get it right?