by: Eric Stevenson
With the Federal budget playing a large role in the early months of 2011, many programs and initiatives are on the chopping block, so to say. Possibly none has dealt with more criticism than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and with good reason. The EPA has spent much of the past few years expanding their regulations and directly effecting business in the process. The GOP has been forced to fight back throughout the early stages of 2011 through different legislation and budget proposals.
While the EPA and Republican reps have likely never been fully on the same wave length, the last few years have seemingly brought about even more disagreement between the two groups. For good reason, the GOP is rather upset because of the business implications that have come along with the EPA’s increased regulations in the past few years. The EPA has continually tried to expand the power of the Clean Air Act, directly resulting in their ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, which has been the major point of recent debate against the EPA.
The regulations on greenhouse gas emission come down on factories all over the country. While these regulations will seemingly have a positive effect on the natural gas industry, they are presenting major problems to the coal and steam industry. Demand for these industries is likely to be cut down by nearly 20 percent, while the increase in natural gas demand is only likely to pick up by about 8 percent in total. The tradeoff is simply not worth it. Industry revenue and profits are sure to see a major decrease with these regulations, and in turn, employment growth will surely be affected as well.
All this reverts back to just how effective the Clean Air Act is. Sure, it does work to keep air quality at a formidable level; however it shouldn’t give the EPA the ability to hold power over the businesses that provide jobs to thousands of Americans. The Clean Air Act should stick to what it was originally meant for, simply enacting methods to improve the air quality of the country. The EPA has seemingly been investing their resources in the wrong places. They could stand to use a refresher on some of their initiatives that actually have an effect on cutting down environmentally related health problems, because it seems as if many of them are being left out in the cold.
The EPA has seen a major decrease in their work in asbestos removal and cutting down on cases of mesothelioma. While asbestos use has gone down overall, cases of this deadly cancer are continuing to increase every year, reaching nearly 100,000 worldwide deaths annually. The EPA should look to invest more of their own time and resources on programs such as this and cutting down on water contamination, thus having a direct impact on environmentally related health. Because there is no mesothelioma cure, one of the only ways to fight these problems is through EPA funded removal programs. If they continue to defend rather unnecessary initiatives such as the Clean Air Act and gas regulations, they could stand to lose focus on some of their more important work.
The EPA has simply lost focus of what their original goal is in recent years. They seem to be more concerned with exerting power of American companies than taking part in programs that have a direct positive effect on American citizens.