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Are You Really Interested in Creating Jobs, Mr. President?


Earlier in the year, I had the privilege of speaking to a local Tea Party group on why it is imperative that we have a national energy policy.  I have spent much of my professional career in the energy field, particularly the electric utility industry.  It is incredulous to me how our President cannot see or understand the severe damage he is creating by supporting and endorsing the ridiculous EPA regulations now being promulgated and the impact these regulations will have on job creation and getting things “built in America.” 

To think President Obama won praise from businesses in January when he promised to bring “reason and balance” to a 21st century regulatory system is a real crock.  Once again, watch what he does vs what he says because most of the time, they are diametrically opposed.  Six months later after making this statement, he is preparing to issue the single most expensive environmental regulation in US history.  There is simply nothing “reasonable or balanced” about the EPA’s proposal to tighten national air quality standards on ozone emissions.  The EPA’s new standards are currently under review by the OMB but could end up on the President’s desk very soon.  The tightening of the standards from 0.075ppm to 0-.070 ppm or even 0.060ppm would mean that 85% of the counties in the country would fall into nonattainment status. 

The EPA estimates and their estimates are always way low is the cost of attainment is anywhere from $20 to $90BB annually.   The estimate itself further should convince us they do not have a clue! Existing businesses or new businesses will be bound by these new regulations and will result in significantly higher costs and uncertainty of marginal facilities that would have to be retrofitted. 

The EPA readily admits based on their own data that between 1990, when the Clean Air Act underwent its last major revision, and 2008, emissions of the six common pollutants including ozone were down 41! The EPA and President Obama simply have no understanding of the economic penalties that these regulations have on businesses and job creation. They have no concept of the “law of diminishing returns” that is to say, once you get down to a certain emission levels with respect to many of these regulated substances, the cost of incremental increases exponentially, far greater than the benefit to society.  In other words, what is reasonable, and what is unreasonable! What is the cost vs benefits of tighten down further on these regulations?

In my talk to the Tea Party I referred to earlier, I quoted a few statements that Newt Gingrich made while campaigning in Iowa.  He stated, “the EPA has rarely been innovative and has focused only on issuing regulations and litigation.  What you have is a very expensive bureaucracy that across the board makes it hard to solve problems, and slows down the development of new innovations.”  He goes on to say “we need to have an agency that is first of all limited, but cooperates with the 50 states. The EPA is based on bureaucrats centered in Washington issuing regulations and litigation and basically opposing things. 

I would replace it with an environmental solution agency—we need an agency that would get up every morning, very much like the national institutes of health or the NSF, and try to figure out what do we need to do today to get a better environment that also gets us a better economy.  The level of control that Washington bureaucrats want to extend over topics they don’t understand and communities they don’t live in is wrong.  Having an attitude of getting up every morning and trying to stop the economy is just a very destructive attitude.”

If Obama was acting as he is saying, he would send the new ozone rules back to the EPA until a thorough scientific review was done as planned, to confirm the likely outcomes of the legislation.  He would also ask for an accurate cost of implementation and then make an reasonable assessment on how this might affect recovery and job growth.  But, he won’t!

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