The EPA: Wrecking the Economy, One Regulation At A Time

Posted: Aug 02, 2011 1:09 PM

"We cannot balance the budget on the backs of those who have borne the brunt of the recession," or some variant of that, is probably one of President Obama's most well-worn refrains. But, in light of the EPA's apparent effort to do everything and anything it can to bring down the economy, I think we need to turn that one around on him: "We cannot implement arbitrary, sweeping environmental standards, placate the green lobby, and let unbridled politically-interested federal agencies run amok on the backs of those who have borne the brunt of this recession." Because the latter statement is actually happening, unlike the fantastical partisan rhetoric of the former. Read on at Heritage:

The U.S. economy won a temporary reprieve with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement last week that new ozone standards, which had been slated for this summer, will be delayed. The EPA’s “reconsideration” of the ozone standards it set in 2008 and issuance of more stringent standards violate all three of the fundamental values EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson pledged to honor: “science-based policies and programs, adherence to the rule of law, and overwhelming transparency."

This enormously expensive regulation is unsupported by scientific evidence, violates the Clean Air Act (CAA), and appears timed to evade ongoing judicial review of the rulemaking process. Even the EPA’s estimate that the new rule will impose up to $90 billion in compliance costs annually severely understates the impact on economic development and jobs in communities where attainment of the new standards will be impossible. Congress should make the EPA’s temporary postponement of its new ozone standards a permanent one.

Facepalm. Businesses do not need more regulations and dictatorial efficiency laws to improve their operations - the incentives are already there, and it's already happening. Imposing random standards to force companies into ozone-level compliance may accomplish the EPA's reduction mission, but it won't be because companies suddenly and magically discovered the know-how overnight: it will be because they have to downgrade their operations. And, hence, our economy will not be running at full force and employment will suffer. Bigtime. According to a study by Manufacturers' Alliance/MAPI (h/t to Jazz Shaw), the new standards are likely to cost the American economy more than $1 trillion every year between 2020 and 2030, and destroy over 7 million jobs. That hurts.

For the record, I am all about the possibilities of cleaner energy - as long as the cost-effective, consumer-approved, viable cues from the free market are leading the way, and not the return-to-the-dark-ages, feel-good, political dictates of the federal government. President Obama can throw around the words "innovation," "technology," and "progress" all he wants, but the fact is, these things come from the private sector and not from top-down wishful thinking. For instance: