Op-Ed: EPA covering for the president

By State Rep. Pamela Tucker
Deputy Speaker, N.H. House of Representatives

Published Saturday, August 6, 2011

It’s never a good idea to believe too much of what you hear in the run-up to an election. It appears 2012 is no exception ¿ especially when the agenda-driven bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency are doing the talking. To bolster President Obama’s image as a job creator amid declining poll numbers and lingering high unemployment, the agency is making economic claims that are downright ridiculous.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has been touting the financial gains derived from existing Clean Air Act regulations based on an in-house report. She claims that agency rules will generate an astronomical $2 trillion in annual economic benefits by 2020, that would be about 10% of our total economy.

If this was anywhere close to true, we’d all be jumping up and down in support ¿ but the claim is ludicrous on its face.A rational analysis of this report by economist David Montgomery exposes the absurdity of these purported benefits. He reveals that the monetary gains claimed by the EPA were never intended to represent jobs or increased economic output. Instead, they represent an EPA estimated value placed on important, yet immeasurable conditions like smog reduction.

Only a politician would try to peddle expensive regulatory measures as job creators, especially when EPA estimates that the regulations will reduce actual economic output (i.e. jobs, salaries, profits) by $109 billion in 2020. Furthermore, the regulations decreased GDP by half a percent in each year modeled. Amazingly, these costs only represent current EPA standards. The agency has over 300 new and increased regulatory measures currently under consideration.

As a result of the market uncertainty and business stagnation caused by this rush to regulation, President Obama’s once sky-high popularity rating has dramatically fallen. Americans across the political spectrum are dissatisfied with the administration’s failure to make any progress on the economy three years into office.

EPA’s claims of an economic windfall from federal regulations are an attempt to spin a very inconvenient truth: that the administration’s ambitious plans to back door climate change regulations are weakening job creation and inhibiting economic growth.

Examples abound. For instance, a new EPA plan to lower ozone standards would cost $1.7 trillion and eliminate 7.3 million jobs. The enforcement of best available control technology (BACT) guidelines will cut more than 500,000 jobs. And proposed boiler maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rules will eliminate 60,000 jobs per year. It doesn’t take long to figure out these regulations are a burden on our economy ¿ not a benefit.

The early and influential New Hampshire primary will keep the state in the forefront of the president’s attempts to cover up a poor record on economic development. A recent New Hampshire poll showed him in peril of losing the state in the 2012 election and receiving a positive approval rating from barely more than a third of voters.

The hope and change has missed New Hampshire ¿ and citizens in the Granite State and around the country are looking for real solutions to serious problems. If the President wants to win over New Hampshire, he will need to show a commitment to actual progress toward economic recovery. Peddling anti-growth regulations, nonsense policies, and cooked reports are a poor start down the road to 2012.


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