EPA - Doing More Harm than Good?

The Environmental Protection Agency is known throughout corporate culture for its excessive, confusing, and extremely expensive regulations. The EPA’s undying lust for climate control policies has been limiting job growth and crippling innovation. Business development has consequently suffered, citing numerous EPA regulations, such as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and the Clean Air Act. The American Coke and Coal Chemicals Institute(ACCCI) believes that under the draconian rule of the EPA our Nation’s businesses may fall behind the international competition, stating:

In recent months, EPA has undertaken an unprecedented regulatory agenda by promulgating or proposing a host of rules in the areas of air, water, solid waste, greenhouse gases, and toxic chemicals … in a nutshell, these new regulations will create permitting obstacles to expand and modernize our facilities and will impose significant additional costs that are difficult recoup in the face of intense international competition.”

And with all of these regulations, where is the pay off? How do these blanket policies affect the individual? Upon hearing stories of small communities that are riddled with mesothelioma symptoms, you have to wonder why the EPA doesn’t address issues like this more directly. Even today, individuals are just discovering that their homes and offices are insulated with asbestos. Because the symptoms of mesothelioma don’t surface for up to 20 years after exposure, such a discovery can be devastating for the families who find asbestos in their home. With the mesothelioma life expectancy being no longer than fourteen months at most, American citizens are dying while the EPA stands there twiddling their thumbs and obstructing our corporations.

Recently, the EPA proposed the first ever mercury emissions standards for power plants. While the idea sounds positive at first, upon further examination; the standards present an economic behemoth to an already fragile economy. Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator, has stated that the regulation would cost power industries $10 billion dollars by 2015 and that electric bills would increase for consumers by about $4 dollars a month. Additionally, the standards will put 16,000 jobs at risk.

The Washington Post reports:

Reflecting the anticipated congressional battle, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), a frequent critic of the EPA, responded by introducing legislation that calls for a formal review of the agency’s regulations.

EPA’s proposed utility [rule] today could, by itself, shut down up to 20 percent of America’s coal-fired power capacity,” he said. “When you add in all of the rules and regulations from EPA’s cap-and-trade agenda, the outlook for jobs and economic growth looks dire.”

Organizations that represent power plants seized on the projected cost of the cleaning equipment, which some say would exceed $10 billion, to denounce the standards. Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, called the proposal “one of the most expensive rules in the history of the agency.”

Segal said that the projected price tag does not include indirect costs and that the EPA did not take into account other recent rules for reducing greenhouse gases that could cause costs to overlap. The agency has adopted or plans to adopt numerous rules with compliance deadlines of 2015, he said, causing the industry to “face perhaps its costliest and most pressing challenge.”

In a statement, Segal cited an IHS/Global Insight report estimating that every $1 billion spent to comply with pollution standards will put 16,000 jobs at risk and reduce the nation’s gross domestic product by up to $1.2 billion.

Again, an overall concern for our planet’s livelihood is important, however the current opportunity cost for the EPA’s regulations tip the scale unfavorably for our nation. Slashing the EPA’s budget is a necessity if we wish to create jobs, improve business development, and regulate our deficit. Obama did admittedly propose a 2012 budget cut of $1.6 billion dollars to the EPA, but the cut is only intended to reduce funding for states’ clean water and drinking projects. The global climate change initiate of the EPA will continue to stand as a fiscal juggernaut. If the EPA could divert its attention from the entire planet our individual nation, it could remain effective with much less funding, ultimately promoting a greater balance between environmental conservation and the prosperity of American industry.