As I travel throughout the 23rd District of Texas, one of the things I constantly hear about is how the flood of new regulations from Washington bureaucrats is stifling economic growth, energy production, and job creation in our communities. Since 2009, the Obama Administration has gone on a regulatory binge, introducing over 10,000 new regulations that will likely cost the private sector billions of dollars to comply with. Even more worrisome, federal agencies have repeatedly ignored the impact on economic growth and job creation as they have gone about writing these burdensome rules.
There is perhaps no better example of this misguided approach than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In four short years, the EPA has engaged in an unprecedented power grab that threatens the future of American energy production and jobs, especially right here in Texas. Under President Obama, the EPA is seeking to regulate everything from dust in the air to water in stock tanks on a ranch, in addition to their attempt to usurp the authority of states and regulate hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” At a time when 23 million Americans are unemployed and economic growth is anemic, there is simply no justification for this onslaught of red tape from the EPA.
Or take the EPA’s war on coal. According to the Department of Energy, America has over 272 billion tons of coal reserves, and the coal industry employs thousands of Americans across the country. But new regulations issued by the EPA are projected to cause over 200 coal-fired generators to be shut down, costing jobs and decreasing energy production across the country. To stop this power grab by the EPA, the House of Representatives last month passed the Stop the War on Coal Act, which would require the EPA to consider the impact on jobs before issuing new rules.
Unfortunately, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have refused to consider legislation that would rein in the EPA. The good news, however, is that part of the EPA’s power grab has recently been rejected by the courts. In rejecting the EPA’s proposed rule regarding cross-state pollution in August, a Washington, DC appeals court found that the EPA’s rule “violates federal law” and must be vacated. This decision by the court reaffirms the fact that the Obama EPA has been overstepping its authority.
We all want clean air and clean water, and we want to protect our environment for future generations of Americans. But handing the keys to out of control bureaucrats in Washington is not the proper way to achieve these goals. We must strive to find the right balance between effective regulation and minimal impact on jobs and the economy. Unfortunately, the EPA and other federal agencies have not sought this balance, and our economy is paying the price as a result. I will continue to fight to ensure that regulators are accountable and that they do not threaten jobs in the 23rd District.
This column was written by U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco.