Chairman Tipton in POLITICO: Energy Regulations Hurt Job Creation
My Colorado colleague, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, recently asked the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator, Mathy Stanislaus, whether the agency’s economic analysis had considered the effect of proposed regulations on jobs. “Not directly,” Stanislaus answered.
Unfortunately, this is not the only example — nor is the EPA the only government agency — to have failed to adequately consider the effect of their proposals on small businesses and jobs.
We held a hearing recently in Grand Junction, Colo., to examine this issue: burdensome federal energy regulations and their detrimental effect on small businesses, jobs and consumer prices.
President Barack Obama has been doing a lot of talking about how vital small businesses are to job creation and the economy.
Yet more than 43 major regulations were proposed last year, and an additional 219 are in the pipeline — each estimated to cost more than $100 million.
In addition, the administration this year proposed seven new regulations that would likely each cost the U.S. economy more than $1 billion annually, if implemented. Four were put forward by the EPA.
A recent study showed that regulation burdens to the American people cost about $1.75 trillion annually — including $281 billion for environmental regulations that disproportionately hit small businesses. On average, government regulations cost small businesses nearly $10,585 per employee.
When will this stop? Americans need jobs and affordable energy now. It is clear that current energy policies are not working when the costs of nearly all products, from food to gasoline, have increased. This toxic mix has done nothing but drive our economy further into the ground, hurting families that are already struggling.
David Ludlam, director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, testified at the hearing about the president’s jobs bill.
“What stood out to our organization,” Ludlam said, “was the fact that no mention was made, and no meaningful policy was proposed, to allow America’s energy sector to get busy creating energy jobs. … We can give the administration a more practical jobs plan for America that is quite simple: Remove regulatory roadblocks to ‘shovel ready’ energy projects in Western Colorado. We believe this would be a great first step to creating high-paying jobs.”
It’s not regulations alone that are hindering job creation and energy production — the permitting process for new energy leases is also cumbersome. Industry experts tell me that this permitting process is slow, costly and burdensome — often taking years to complete. Certain policies and procedures, for example, have held up development seven or eight months on an 11-month lease.
This defies common sense. You wouldn’t lease a car for 11 months that you could only drive for the last three.
David White, the county commissioner of Montrose, Colo., said red tape and misguided “stimulus” policies have delayed the building of a new energy mill and hampered the local businesses that will support its operation — blocking “1,300 high-paying jobs” from being created “in a county with a workforce of just over 15,000 people.”
As White put it, “Excessive government regulations and poorly planned policies are preventing our nation from reaching vitally important energy independence, killing existing jobs and hampering new job creation.”
The United States has been blessed with abundant natural energy resources and the technology to use these resources in a safe and environmentally sound manner. It is beyond all common sense why the Obama administration continues to rely on volatile foreign oil and push costly regulations, even as our energy prices skyrocket and unemployment remains intolerably high.
We must embrace an “all of the above” energy platform that includes traditional resources like oil, natural gas and clean coal — in addition to renewable and alternative resources like wind and hydropower. Unlocking our vast natural resources here at home would lead us closer to energy independence using skilled American workers, while laying the foundation for a sustainable energy future.
During tough economic times, it is essential that we all work toward practical solutions that can protect our environment — while leading us closer to an all-of-the-above energy plan.Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) is chairman of the Agriculture, Energy and Trade Subcommittee of the Small Business Committee.