U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN) made the following statement today regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to impose new costly and excessive regulations on Minnesota's taconite industry:
"In the middle of the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression, the EPA's sheer and utter disregard for our industry, its workers, and their families shows how out of touch with reality Washington bureaucrats really are. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has already demonstrated effective regulation of our environmental laws, and these regulators know what is best for our state. Under the Obama Administration, the EPA has Minnesota jobs in its crosshairs. We are witnessing this kind of administrative overreach at a time when we're supposed to be encouraging growth, not stifling it. I am very concerned about the impact this new overreach will have on Minnesota's Iron Range, and I will be contacting the EPA in response to its decision."
Currently, 3,900 people are directly employed by iron ore operations on the Iron Range, while there are more than 40,000 steel-industry jobs in the state of Minnesota.
Importantly, the EPA's new regulations far exceed what the MPCA approved for the six operating Minnesota taconite mines in April. In fact, the Administration has proposed 3,118 regulations, with 167 considered economically significant (i.e. expected to have at least a $100 million impact on the economy). This represents a 52% increase since 2009.
Businesses are suffocating under red tape: According to a recent Chamber of Commerce Small Business Outlook Survey, 78% of small businesses surveyed report the taxation, regulation and legislation from Washington make it harder for their business to hire more employees.
Entrepreneurship at a 17-year low: Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the number of new business start-ups in 2010 fell to the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1994. Since 2007, there has been a 23% drop in new business creation.
Excessive regulations prevent job growth: According to a Gallup poll, 48% of small businesses said they were not hiring due to concerns about possible rising health care costs, while 46% said they were worried about new government regulations.
"Until we get Minnesota mining out from under the thumb of Washington bureaucrats, we will continue to see a slow death of our mining operations," said Rep. Cravaack.
Representative Cravaack serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- where he is Vice Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee -- the Homeland Security Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.