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View From the Hill: EPA gets in the way of business...again

By Grace Boatright, National Grange Legislative Director (View From The Hill Blog 4/23/13)

  APRIL 23, 2013 --

Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be the Administrator of the EPA. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) took the opportunity to highlight the consequences of EPA’s overregulation, specifically on the coal industry.

Senator Barrasso highlighted that in taking employment opportunities away from hard working Americans, the EPA is potentially creating bigger social issues. According to Barrasso, "Regulations and proposed rules on greenhouse gases, coal ash, mercury emissions and industrial boilers have led to the closing of dozens of power plants in the U.S., costing our country thousands of jobs. Folks who now have no money, no job, no prospect for a job in their communities, and they are experiencing serious health risks as a result of that.” The Wyoming Senator knows the consequences of burdening the coal industry all too well -40 percent of domestic coal production comes from Wyoming.

Senator Barrasso’s statements introduce a bigger issue: What is the true cost of overregulation and how does overregulation slow our economy and block business development?

For example, we’ve mentioned the proposed export terminal expansion projects in the Pacific Northwest and the benefits these facilities would bring to the agriculture community in the region by increasing bulk commodities capacity. These export terminals would be expanded to respond to the growing demand of coal in the Asian markets; an economic opportunity that would benefit other industries through increased rail and export expansions.

However, the authorization process has been burdened by ongoing debates as opponents continue to ask for additional layers or regulations and studies beyond what the current federal law requires. It’s clear to me that these efforts outside of the formal process are designed to slow and convolute the official process.

Senator Barrasso was correct in waiving a red flag about the negative effects of overregulation, which not only affect the coal industry, but directly and indirectly affect other industries as well.

We at the Grange encourage elected officials to stand up for economic prosperity and common sense government. Hopefully, we can get more legislators like Barrasso to stand up for ag and the multitude of industries it touches.

-Grace Boatright
National Grange Legislative Director

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