An Activist EPA is Bad for Everyone

There is no shortage of news and comment when it comes to the EPA. Ag publications have been filled with stories of new EPA regulations and their effect on producers. But should the EPA have its way, it’s not just agriculture that will suffer for it. Nearly every American will in some way feel the impact of the EPA’s current environmental strategy.

Shawn Martini is Communications Director for Colorado Farm Bureau.

In December, Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform launched an investigation into governmental barriers to business in America. The Chairman sent 171 letters to businesses and industry groups, asking them to outline the regulations and programs that most impeded their operations.

Last month Chairman Issa released the results of his inquiry and the results were very informative. Out of the 113 responses, environmental regulation was most cited as a barrier to business. The EPA was cited over 334 times in the responses regarding their rules on green house gas emissions, ozone and dust, spill prevention, chemical applications etc. The next most cited agency was the Department of Labor with only 55 comments.

The letters make it clear that the threat from EPA goes beyond the agriculture and industrial sectors. The commercial sector will be affected as well. As the American Small Business Council has warned,

“The general regulatory thrust of the Administration with regard to energy and the environment will lead to less energy, higher energy prices, a disincentive to manufacture in the U.S. and massive job loss.”

The agency’s regulation of stationary sources of CO2 will impact industry segments as varied as warehousing, education, office, and food service. The net effect of all this regulation is higher costs for consumers at the grocery store, boutique, and dentist.

President Obama last month issued an executive order that directs a full review of current regulations to “ensure that regulations protect out safety, health, and environment, while promoting economic growth.” Ostensibly the review will eliminate current rules that “stifle job creation and make out economy less competitive.

The reaction from business and industry groups was positive. It was clear that several regulatory roadblocks would be relegated to the bureaucratic scrap heap. However the review held no sway over rules promulgated by the Administration.

Meg Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget said, “While all significant regulations are subject to this process, it would stand to reason that any regulations promulgated by this administration are current and already reflect the principals outlined by the President.”

In other words, don’t get your hopes up on a walkback of carbon regs, dust limits and the like. The Administration and the EPA won’t be applying the same standard for previous rules, to their own.

The last hope for businesses and consumers is the Republican controlled House. Its members have made it clear that they will yield to voices of voters when it comes to regulation of the gas we all exhale. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, Rep. Fred Upton has commenced hearings on the EPA and their regulatory agenda and there is no doubt that legislation will be introduced to overturn action on a variety of issues.

For the sake of business and consumers nationwide, let’s hope he’s successful.

This column is the final in a series of three on the EPA. You can find the first column here and the second here.


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