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Over the course of the last six and one half years, the federal Environmental Protection Agency in Washington has added between 29 million and 30 million words to the Federal Register. That one agency has created 3,373 new final regulations controlling how businesses operate, landowners manage their land, homeowners deal with rainwater runoff, and individuals and families conduct their lives as they buy products needed.
To put those numbers in perspective, these regulations add up to a total of forty- six times longer than the Bible. Those regulations are 6,552 times longer than our constitution. The new regulations on solid waste alone are 122 pages.
Put another way, the Obama Administration has averaged 10 new regulations every week since coming into power and it is getting worse. The first year in office there were 365 new regulations. Each year since there have been more. Last year another 561 were added. These new regulations dictate rules that determine the air we breathe, the water we drink, the methods upon which every product we use are produced.
Obviously, we all want clean air and water; however, everything in life must be weighed against the real world we live in. Most manufacturing comes at a cost of some pollution. Without those manufacturing jobs many would not have jobs. Without jobs, homes would be cold and without food.
In a perfect world you can have everything at no cost. In a balanced world we must have both give and take between the competing needs. To have shelter, food, and clothing we must have jobs. Our goal should be to have balance between our needs to provide for our families and our need for clean air and water. Moving too far one way or the other creates too few jobs or pollution that harms us.
We should strive to protect our environment for the health of our families but not by seeking perfection with no consideration of creating jobs to pay our heating bills and providing food for our tables. One without consideration of the other serves no one.
During this Administration, it appears we have wandered too far from that needed balance. Clearly there can’t be any doubt that one reason our economy has staggered along with practically no growth in the last seven years is the concerns of decision makers as to how these 3,373 new regulations will affect the profitability of doing business on American soil. This is especially true when they produce other places in the world with fewer regulations.
Berry Hill megasite is just one example. The state needed several industrial sites that could be used to attract an automotive manufacturing company or other such large facilities that would hire many skilled employees. The Tobacco Commission worked with the region to create Berry Hill in Pittsylvania County. Since then over and over the Corps of Engineers has found one reason or another in the federal regulations to prevent this opportunity for our region.
Combine that with the Affordable Care Act forcing many companies to choose restrained growth rather than adding untold new expenses in healthcare and we have the perfect storm of marginal growth that has not kept pace with population growth. We must return to balance for our economy to truly recover.
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