Rivers caught fires then. . The value of real estate with clean river front property dwarfs by orders of magnitude any industrial production that came of those fatories run by dimwitted idiots who could not make anything without crapping all over the country.
You can see what happens without OSHA in India where the workers are still making asbestos sheets or in china where they are melting used electronic plastic or in Bangladesh where the break down ships with bare hands and a welding torch. The value provide by these agencies are subtle, hidden and never fully appreciated or articulated. But those crappy executives who think they can't make this quarters number because they have to provide masks for workers shoveling coal ash, they aggressively paint the picture that all the woes of America are due to these agencies.
Added property value due to clean waterfront is never accounted for. Increased real estate value on properties adjacent to tax funded highways is never recognized when people blindly "government never creates value". All the agricultural output from deserts watered by the big dams built by the government is never recognized. Government by its mere existence creates value. Our founding fathers realized it and gave the Government the power to tax anything without providing any justification whatsoever. If the government decides to tax bandwidth of internet connections or financial transactions, it can, it is constitutional. You might question the wisdom of it, or the political expediency, but it would be constitutional.
Remember the day you make the government weaker than the strongest person, that person will drown it in the bath tub and that person will rule you as a tyrant. Courts have ruled corporations are persons, endowed with religious beliefs and all the rights of citizens. Be afraid, my friend, be very afraid. Not of the government, but the corporation that is going to rule you as a tyrant.