By Representative Phil Roe
Since the Senate will not pass the flawed cap and trade legislation, the administration is taking matters into their own hands, using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as their lead enforcement agency. New regulations planned by the EPA could have detrimental effects to our economy -- particularly causing a loss of jobs, impeding economic recovery and harming livelihoods.
Last week, I joined other members of the Rural America Solutions Group for a forum to discuss harmful regulations that may be imposed by the Obama administration's EPA and have already been championed by the Democratic leadership in Congress. Included in this forum were seven panelists from across the country who offered perspective and real-life examples on how these regulations could hurt job creation and economic growth. Overwhelmingly, the panelists agreed that EPA's policies are overreaching, burdensome regulations.
The heart of the EPA's regulation would be a backdoor national energy tax that will ultimately kill jobs, stop economic growth and raise the cost of energy, food and transportation. They would also double the current regulatory standard on farm dust that would make tilling a field, operating a feedlot or diving farm vehicles impossible - bringing the agriculture sector to a standstill. A representative from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation said, "Farmers and their way of life and livelihood have never felt more challenged or threatened than they do today by the continuous onslaught of regulations and requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency... The cost they represent will impact the economy as a whole, and this committee should not be surprised when our economy contracts and jobs are lost to foreign competition."
In addition, a new regulation on hydraulic fracturing -- considered a safe, well-regulated natural gas drilling technology under the Clean Water Act -- would greatly harm domestic energy production and kill thousands of energy jobs. New relegations on solid fuel-fired boilers have also been set, and could result in tens of billions in capital costs for upgrades, in turn costing thousands of jobs because of these losses.
A common theme heard in testimony by representatives across the spectrum - from the cattle industry, to the coal industry, to farming - all said that the "Obama Administration's environmental policies...appear to be aimed at destroying [their] industry in America." Attempts to expand EPA's control over everything from mud puddles to dust will have dire economic consequences on small businesses and family farms.
As folks around the country are experiencing great economic strain, these new regulations will only continue to add strain on businesses struggling to stay afloat. These new regulations are harmful to the First District of Tennessee because they could shut down business and put thousands of Americans out of work.
I am all for clean air, and I believe government should ensure that companies are playing by the rules. But what we don't need is any more ridiculous red tape in the First District and around the country that has not been authorized by Congress and will only harm job growth in our country. We need a federal government that will focus on creating jobs, and preventing tax hikes and getting our economy back on track.