Contributed by Scott Portman.
For years now, the EPA has gained a notorious reputation with industry and business leaders throughout the United States. It hasn’t been until recently that these business leaders have formally stood up to the EPA’s costly and endless regulations. Along with the GOP, these businesses have fought back at the EPA through a series of budget proposals and acts that are geared to loosen the strangle hold that the EPA carries on many industry leaders in America.
This controversy between business and the EPA is often over the Clean Air Act and the use of Cap and Trade by the environmental agency. Through these initiatives the EPA is able to oversee and regulate the amount of greenhouse gas emission put off by factories and power plants. This, in turn, has been directly affecting the revenue and profits for these businesses that need the emission to thrive. Employment has also been limited with these companies because of the potential downfall in revenue.
As 2011 started, President Obama released his yearly budget proposal with only a slight alteration to the EPA’s budget from 2010. The proposal that the President brought forth only amounted for a small cut to the EPA slate, only having an effect on some minor programs for the environmental agency. GOP leaders were increasingly frustrated with initiatives such as the Clean Air Act, thus a new proposal was brought forth to cut about a third from the 2010 EPA budget. The new proposal would also allow for the lessening of resources for the Clean Air Act, having a direct impact on the gas regulations that hinder a number of businesses.
After the new budget proposal from the GOP, a number of republican senators brought forth the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011. This is an act that would serve to put an end to the EPA’s cap and trade agenda, as well as take some more power away from the EPA when it comes to business. With an end to the cap and trade, there would be an end to the greenhouse gas regulations that constrain many of the industry leaders. Senators James Inhofe, Ed Whitfield, and Fred Upton have been outspoken on the effect that this act would have, claiming in a recent press release that it would “Stop EPA bureaucrats from imposing a backdoor cap-and-trade tax that would make gasoline, electricity, fertilizer, and groceries more expensive for consumers; and protect American jobs and manufacturers from overreaching EPA regulations that hinder our ability to compete with China and other countries.”
What the GOP sees with the EPA is an organization that’s seem to lost priority on some of its major initiatives, while exerting too much resources towards things like the Clean Air Act, which have little direct impact. The EPA should look to exert more of their time and work towards cutting down on environmental health problems such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asthma for example. Through initiatives such as asbestos abatement and cutting water contamination, the EPA can have a direct result on the health of the American people, sometimes even preventing life threatening environmental health dangers. For example, mesothelioma life expectancy is highly severe and usually averages only a year after diagnosis. Certainly the EPA has a number of different projects and campaigns that would be more suited in impacting the people of America in a positive way, than something like the Clean Air Act.
The GOP and business leaders have been adamant in saying that they are not looking to remove or cut out the power of the EPA. They simply are looking for less of a power grip from the EPA towards industry and less of a financial impact from the environmental regulations. Through a series of early 2011 budget proposals and introduced acts, there is hope growth for these effected businesses.