ICYMI - VIDEO: Rep. Jeff Landry Highlights Unnecessary Regulations That Are Killing Gulf Jobs

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Washington, Jun 15, 2011 | comments

Rep. Jeff Landry Highlights Unnecessary Regulations
That Are Killing Gulf Jobs

"It’s hard to work and earn a living under those regulations"

"Now tell me how regulations are not smothering our economy"

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During today’s House Small Business Committee hearing to examine the impact on federal regulations on small business job creation, Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) talked at length about how unnecessary regulations from this administration are killing energy jobs in Louisiana

Here is part of the transcript between Rep. Jeff Landry and minority witness, Dr. Adam Finkel (Fellow and Executive Director at the University of Pennsylvania Law School Program on Regulation) about Dr. Finkel’s claim, in his opening statement, that government regulations are not that costly to small business jobs. In a former job, Dr. Finkel was Regional Administrator for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Rep. Jeff Landry
Mr. Chairman, let me tell you about a conversation I had last week with a very successful business owner in my district. He had sold his business; he had created hundreds of jobs. He was under a non-compete, and, when that non-compete ended, his partners decided to go back into the drilling business. When they sat down and put their profile together, how they wanted to put their business and move it forward, they decided that they were going to build the largest shallow-water drilling barge in the world (and one of the most advanced). When they looked at the cost-we’ve got a lot a fab[rication] yards in my district-at the cost and the amount of regulation and red tape that they had to do to build that barge, they decided that they were going to build that barge in Singapore.

While they were contemplating the construction of this barge and where they were going to implement it, where they were going to put it out for contract, they got a proposal to purchase a drilling company- an American drilling company- for about 60 percent of the cost of the drilling barge that they were going to build, and they made a determination that they didn’t want to do business in America anymore, that they were going to build this barge in Singapore and they were going to float it to Nigeria and drill, because it’s more business-friendly in Nigeria than it is in this country. And I can tell you that the OSHA regulations are destroying our fabrication yards down there. So we’re not on thin ice, we’re on thick ice. In fact, it’s so ridiculous that, during the BP oil spill, they would make shrimpers come in during the daytime because it was too hot for them to collect oil on the water. And when the shrimpers said, “You know, it makes more sense for us to collect this oil at night,” they said, “Regulations don’t allow it.” Now tell me how regulations are not smothering our economy. I’ve got to tell you, we just have to agree to disagree, but you’re going to have to put more real-life examples in front of me as how those OSHA regs are trumping the unemployment…are not causing the unemployment to be nine percent or greater…which is really not nine percent…it’s really fourteen percent or greater, it’s just that those people are not looking for work anymore.

Dr. Adam Finkel
I know that you don’t want me respond with anecdotal cherry-picked examples on the other side, because that’s not my role as a witness to tell you all of the stories that I used to hear, and still hear, of people who’ve lost their loved ones because of lapses, negligence and mistakes. It is a balance. Of course, there are going to be stories of businesses who have had difficulty complying with…

Rep. Jeff Landry
But isn’t that the role of the legal system? Isn’t it the role of the legal system to determine whether or not businesses are not operating in a fair and safe environment for their workers? If people are getting injured and deaths are being caused. Isn’t that what the plaintiff’s lawyers do, and when they go in and they impact those small businesses, those small businesses have a choice of whether they want to pay those types of fines and settlements or whether they want to make their work environment safer. Look, OSHA just issued a regulation where our welders are now going to have to wear long-sleeves, outfits that don’t breath and it’s 110 degrees in the shade in Louisiana! How do we keep working under those conditions? There is no waiver for that. What do we do?

Dr. Adam Finkel
If I were still there, I could look at that for you. And there are always really difficult things that government has to do where they can’t satisfy both one risk and another. Again, I’ve got to say that they plaintiffs bar and court system… that’s after the fact, and the agency exists in order to prevent that from happening.

Rep. Jeff Landry
But three people have passed out this summer in one yard, complying with OSHA regs. What is the safety there?

Dr. Adam Finkel
I know that OSHA just put out last week, I don’t follow them week-to-week, but this is the week where they put out a whole set of interpretation and guidance on heat stress. They are very aware that it is hard to be safe and cool at the same time. It is hard to wear a respirator to protect your lungs and have to breathe through dusty air. But there are all kinds of very difficult choices, where if we had a little more technological innovation, we could solve some of these problems, but again…

Rep. Jeff Landry
It’s hard to work and earn a living under those regulations, that’s what it’s hard to do. And I yield back.

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