U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) and members of the Rural America Solutions Group today participated in a forum that focused on the destructive job-killing policies of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Democratic leadership in Congress.
The EPA's Assault on Rural America: How New Regulations and Proposed Legislation are Stifling Job Creation and Economic Growth forum was sponsored by the Rural America Solutions Group. Luetkemeyer and his colleagues heard from rural Americans who provided real-life examples of how the actions of the EPA are costing jobs, hindering economic recovery and harming rural livelihoods.
"The EPA appears bent on destroying rural America by regulating private lands and water. The EPA and Majority party's attempt to regulate everything from mud-puddles to dust is a massive power grab that threatens the livelihoods of our family farmers, small businesses and rural communities," Luetkemeyer said. "The EPA and Majority party should take the time to speak to the folks in rural America and address the inconsistencies between their support for disastrous cap-and-tax legislation and increased regulations, and the stated goal of job creation and economic growth."
Missouri's 9th District has more than 22,000 farms, covering more than 6.4 million acres of land. Agriculture is a bull's-eye industry for an energy tax because it is energy-intensive. Whether it's the fuel in the tractor, the fertilizer for the crops, or the delivery of food to the grocery store, agriculture uses a great deal of energy throughout production. An analysis by the Missouri Public Utility Alliance estimates that the House-passed cap-and-tax plan for carbon emissions could increase the average electric rate in Missouri by 10 percent in 2015 compared to 2005. In 2020, the increase could be 17 percent and by 2030, rates could be 82 percent higher. This backdoor energy tax will kill jobs, hinder economic growth, and increase the cost of energy, food and transportation.
Beyond the cap-and-tax plan, the Obama Administration and Majority party in Congress have proposed numerous job-killing regulations targeting rural America:
* Expanding the scope of the Clean Water Act to bring every body of water - from irrigation canals to seasonal mud-puddles - under the unlimited jurisdiction of the EPA.
* The EPA's new spray drift policy is a major shift from the decades-old acknowledgement that small levels of pesticide spray drift is unavoidable. The unachievable standard will result in frivolous lawsuits and loss of jobs.
* EPA issued a draft policy doubling the stringency of the standard by which farm dust is regulated. Farming activities that kick up dust like tilling a field, operating a feedlot, even driving farm vehicles on dirt roads would fall under this new policy that will hinder farmers' ability to maintain production and could bring economic growth to a standstill in the agricultural sector.
* Banning the use of Atrazine, the second most used pesticide, which could result in the loss of 21,000 to 48,000 agriculture related jobs.
* Regulating hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Hydraulic fracturing is a safe, well-regulated technology that enables the production of unconventional natural gas resources -- such as shale gas. Imposing new, bureaucratic regulations and red-tape will reduce American energy production and destroy energy jobs throughout the country.
* Regulating milk storage under the Clean Water Act like large oil tanks. It is estimated that this action would cost U.S. dairy farmers thousands of dollars in compliance costs.