Wednesday, October 26, 2011
We are against pollution. Then again, who isn't?
So it makes sense for the federal government to set emissions standards to try to reduce air pollution for industries that emit pollutants.
But in establishing and imposing new standards, federal officials need to take into consideration the costs of lowering the emissions and the impact of those costs.
Yet, that doesn't seem to be happening in establishing new emission rules for industrial boilers such as those used at paper mills.
This could be devastating in the Pacific Northwest where the forest industry is centered
Congress is currently debating how fast the Environmental Protection Agency should act in trying to further reduce industrial pollutants.
Pacific Northwest lawmakers -- Republicans and Democrats -- appear united in the belief the federal government is going too far and too fast in imposing regulations. Their fear is the Northwest economy will take a huge hit because the new regulations will increase costs to the point mills and other industrial plants would layoff thousands of workers.
Members of the Washington state delegation, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, have been particularly active in the debate, according to Rob Hotakainen of McClatchey Newspapers.
"Every dollar that a job creator has to spend complying with new regulations is a dollar he could be using to create more jobs," McMorris Rodgers said.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is trying to put the brakes on the new rules proposed by the EPA. The EPA's new rules would "stymie the burgeoning biomass energy industry and make it very difficult for existing lumber and wood products mills to operate."
Wyden said his proposed legislation would force the EPA to go "back to the drawing board and craft boiler rules that are more in line with what is realistic for mills and factories."
And earlier this month, Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both D-Wash., and nine other senators wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson voicing their concerns.
All the members of Congress need to get a grip on the harsh reality the Northwest lawmakers have already accepted -- overzealous and ill-timed regulations will cost jobs and further hurt the nation's economy.
Yes, pollution should be reduced, but it must be done with reasonable regulation and at a realistic pace.