Environmental Protection AgencyBy Gene Hall

I was pleasantly surprised to read this week of President Obama’s executive order to review and possibly eliminate federal regulations that might do more harm than good. If the administration really wants to go after pointless, economy choking, job killing and foolish regulations, there is an obvious target—EPA.

Of course, the cynic in me suspects this is not much more than window dressing—part of the president’s desire to appear more centrist. I hope he’s genuinely trying to get to the middle, because that’s where the country is, impatiently waiting on its leaders.

If the administration is not blowing smoke, the Environmental Protection Agency is a great place to start. EPA has abandoned any pretense of considering cost versus benefit in their regulatory zeal. Unable to pass Cap and Trade (Cap and Tax) legislation in a Senate that was reluctant to cripple the economy, EPA is now pushing the idea via an army of unelected regulators. This, folks, is the largest tax increase in the history of the planet and if you don’t think it will hurt the economy, you’re kidding yourself. Since energy is a component cost of everything we buy, there is no way to dodge the impact. The fact that no one expects to affect climate change even a little bit seems to be irrelevant to the regulators. That’s because other nations will gladly burn fossil fuels to claim the economic benefit the U.S. will lose.

EPA intends to regulate dust on farms. This is as futile as anything in the sad history of enthusiastic regulation. July on the farms and ranches of Texas is a dusty time. You’ll raise a small cloud just walking to the barn. There is no doubt that even farmers and ranchers with excellent dust control plans will be hounded and fined. 

This is an agency that would like regulatory authority over every mud hole in America, every dust cloud billowing behind a cotton stripper and all of the fossil fuels that we still need to grow crops and produce other goods. The agency leaps over scientific facts that don’t fit political goals. The new EPA is an overzealous regulatory juggernaut that, unfettered, will do a lot of harm to the economy. 

I hope the Obama Administration is serious. If they don’t look at EPA, they are not. Just in case, Congress should keep a very close eye on EPA, and if necessary, cut the budget when it steps beyond its congressionally mandated authority.

Visit the Texas Farm Bureau website at www.txfb.org .
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Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
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One Response to “Taming regulations? Start with EPA!”

  1. John Raeke says:

    Gene, these were my thoughts exactly when I heard of the president’s order to review regulations. EPA is an excellent place to start. I hope, like you, that this is not just an attempt to ‘appear’ concerned about over-regulation. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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