For the past 20 months, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has waged a non-stop assault on U.S. jobs and competitiveness. Led by Administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA has sought to regulate everything from the air to dust to milk, all while failing to respond competently to a legitimate environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. These misguided EPA policies come at a cost of thousands, if not millions, of U.S. jobs—far too high a price to pay for political favors as the economy attempts to recover in spite of Democrats’ failed economic agenda. Listed below are just some of the actions the EPA has taken recently which will negatively impact the U.S. economy.
In 2009, the EPA issued an endangerment finding stating that six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, when released in the atmosphere threaten public health and welfare under the Clean Air Act. This finding was intended to pave the way for EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions—a backdoor national energy tax. Due to political pressure, the EPA has attempted to minimize the economic impact of the endangerment finding for small business entities by issuing a “tailoring rule.” The tailoring rule temporarily raises the pollution thresholds in the Clean Air Act. However, the tailoring rule stands on uncertain legal ground, and it expires in 2016. Afterward, an unaccountable EPA could inflict a massive amount of economic pain by increasing the costs of energy for all consumers, including businesses and farms.
While a national energy tax may not clear the 111th Congress, the radical environmental lobby is mobilizing to protect the EPA’s ability to unilaterally and arbitrarily write job-killing regulations. The EPA, with its broad regulatory authority, seems intent on fulfilling a radical environmental agenda, while destroying jobs and undermining the authority of the American people to work their will through their elected representatives in Congress. Below are several examples of an out of control EPA flexing its regulatory muscle at the expense of U.S. jobs.
ISSUES OF CONCERN:
Farm Dust: In yet another unprecedented regulatory move, EPA issued a draft policy almost doubling the stringency of the standard by which farm dust is regulated. Many typical farming activities kick up dust—tilling a field, operating a feedlot, even driving farm vehicles on dirt roads. The economic impact this regulation would have on farmers, especially those in arid climates, would hinder farmers’ ability to maintain production and could bring economic growth to a standstill in the agricultural sector.
Ozone Standards: The EPA is currently reconsidering national air standards for ground-level ozone, the primary constituent of smog. The agency has proposed to significantly tighten the standards that were adopted less than two years ago, with no new data prompting this reconsideration. Standards at the lower end of the range now under consideration would nearly triple the number of non-attainment counties across the U.S. The EPA’s own figures show that 650 of the 675 currently monitored counties would violate the proposed 0.060 ppm standard. The EPA estimates that its ozone proposal could add as much as $90 billion per year to the high costs of operating a business. Those costs would be passed on to consumers.
Spray Drift: The EPA’s new spray drift policy is a major shift from the decades-old acknowledgement that small levels of pesticide spray drift is unavoidable. The application of pesticides is currently permitted when used in accordance with the label and does not pose an “unreasonable adverse effect.” Recently, the EPA proposed a new zero-risk standard and would ban application of pesticides in a manner that results in spray drift “that could cause an adverse effect.” In doing so, EPA adds speculative vagueness to the label language requirements and sets an unachievable standard—leaving agricultural producers open to frivolous lawsuits which kill jobs.
Atrazine: In 2009, the EPA began an unscheduled review of the pesticide Atrazine even though the agency re-registered the pesticide in 2006. This review is unprecedented because it is outside of normal regulatory guidelines for a registered product. Atrazine is essential to U.S. agriculture industry. It is the second-most used pesticide and recent studies show that a ban on Atrazine could cost 21,000 to 48,000 agriculture-related jobs based on corn production alone.
Milk Equals Oil: Due to the animal fat in milk, the EPA has indicated that milk storage could be regulated under the Clean Water Act like large oil tanks. It is estimated that this action would cost U.S. dairy farmers thousands of dollars in compliance costs. The EPA, due to Congressional pressure including legislation sponsored by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), has signaled that it would finalize an exemption for milk. However, it has yet to do so and continues to drag its feet when it comes to finalizing the proposed exemption.