Tuesday, April 26, 2011

EPA Regulations Strangling America

EPA Regulations Strangling America
by Rep. Ted Poe
Posted 04/25/2011 ET

Right now, someone is sitting at a large oak table in the EPA’s marble palace in Washington, D.C., sipping a vanilla latte and dreaming up a new rule to impose. Without fail, the EPA continues to come up with ideas that leave you scratching your head in wonderment because of the questionable science used to justify these regulations. Instead of protecting the environment, these rules dreamed up by the EPA in Washington are destroying American industry and killing job creation, which is just what our economy needs right now. This type of federal meddling is exactly what causes companies to lay off workers, move overseas, and in many cases, fail. The purpose of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect the environment—not to regulate American industry into nonexistence.

The EPA’s blatant disregard of the fragile state of our economy is alarming. Businesses in the United States already are operating in an environment of uncertainty, which makes investors hesitant to invest in American businesses. The EPA’s efforts to force companies to comply with its expensive (and many times environmentally unnecessary) regulations will inevitably increase the cost for businesses, and accordingly consumers, and destroy job growth. If the EPA continues on its crusade of destruction and over-regulation, manufacturing and energy companies will take their business to friendlier lands overseas, jobs will be destroyed, and the environment will not be any better off.

In the name of saving us from ourselves, the EPA continues to abuse its power. The mother of all mandates is the proposed cap-and-trade regulations. Houston, Tex., is the energy capital of the world, and my area of southeast Texas is home to more energy companies and facilities than almost any other location in the United States. What I hear most often from the businesses that supply the energy that our country demands is that these questionable regulations will significantly increase costs that make doing business in the U.S. too difficult. This type of over-regulation will crush the economy and put thousands of people out of work. What makes the EPA’s proposed regulations most disturbing is that Texas has been successful on its own in ensuring clean air through the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality. Despite Texas’ own progress, the EPA is looking for more to control, arrogantly ignoring the will of the people and the will of Congress.

The American people have rejected the EPA’s cap-and-trade regulations overwhelmingly, and this month, the House of Representatives passed the Energy Tax and Prevention Act that would prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gasses (i.e., carbon dioxide). Of course, this caused the fear-mongerers to scream that we don’t care about the environment. What was left out of their talking points is that this legislation does not prohibit the EPA from regulating those hazardous pollutants that are harmful to public health. We await the Senate's action on this bill.

The Environmental Police Agency’s assault on our economy and state does not stop there. It wants to control what kind of light-bulbs Americans use, how much power the utility companies generate, the “particulate coarse matter”—more commonly known as dust found on farms and ranches, how much water we have in our toilets, and one of the newest ones: What kind of anti-bacterial soap we use to wash our hands. That’s right, the EPA’s overstepping of authority now touches almost every aspect of our lives. So, if you’re a mom who has been using the same soap for years to protect your children from spreading germs, sorry. You need to go to the pharmacy and buy some new “improved” EPA-authorized soap. While you’re there, you should pick up a box of only-Made-in-China compact fluorescent bulbs—because thanks to the EPA—incandescent bulbs will be banned by 2014.

Despite the unconstitutionality of government controlling every aspect of our lives, we’re left without any grounds for why this nanny state is needed. The EPA has not adequately defended its destructive policies. Recently, the EPA has chosen to miss several Capitol Hill hearings. My colleague Joe Barton fairly referred to them as the “Evaporating Personnel Administration.” But when the EPA has actually chosen to show up for a hearing, what Congress has heard from its administrators is worrisome. This month, EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus testified before the House Environment and Energy Subcommittee. Congressman Cory Gardener (R.-Colo.) asked Administrator Stanislaus whether the EPA took job creation into account when it analyzes new regulations. This simple question sent Stanislaus on a five-minute-long frenzy, where he let it slip that the EPA could care less about job creation. Apparently, the EPA comes up with regulations in the marble palace without considering the effect that its policies will have on job creation. You can’t make this stuff up.

The reality is that the EPA policies are driving up energy costs at a time when gas is nearly $5 a gallon, destroying jobs when unemployment is hovering at 8%, and sending companies overseas at a time when investment in America is at a low. Many of these regulations—such as regulating dust on farms—just make no sense. It is understandable, but not defend-able, how someone who does not set foot out of his marble palace might think that dust on farms should be regulated. This just shows how disconnected some people in Washington really are, coming up with rules based on no science or knowledge. This is why the Constitution does not give the government the power to decide what kind of light-bulb you use. The pure absurdity of the ridiculous and expensive federal regulations is what makes normal Americans all across our country so frustrated with Washington, D.C. The regulators sitting at the table in the marble palace are out of touch with America. The EPA needs to do its job—protect the environment—and get out of the way of American businesses and job creators.

And that’s just the way it is.

To read another recent article on this subject, click here.

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