I don't recall ever seeing a trail of smoke puffing out of the back end of the Starship Enterprise but recall all too well growing up in Chicago, many times stuck at a red light seeing the noxious smoke that I breathed emanating from the tail pipe from the car stopped in front.
This is my way of saying that I am not in favor of air pollution, but I do believe that a series of events must occur for us to effectively cleanse the air while balancing our ability to sustain a 21st century way of living.
Heck, even if we all decided that we would be better off living in caves, with nearly 7 billion people on this planet, it would be impossible to do so without fabricating many times many. (Imagine how many jobs that would create?!)
Back to the point. There is room for improvement, but too much too soon and we can overregulate industries to the point of killing respectable businesses and putting even more respectable people out of work. When we - the USA - do that, we add to the imbalance of our competitive playing field and throw business to nations (did I say China?) that are more willing to turn a blind eye and grab our opportunities.
When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week decided that its MACT boiler and solid waste incineration rules needed additional blackboard time, I gave a cheer. It was especially gratifying to learn that the EPA was stepping back based on a directive from President Barack Obama to give full consideration potential economic consequences before enacting new regulations.
The American Forest and Paper Association, a group that umbrellas many wood industry associations, was among petitioners that helped persuade the EPA to cool its jets. The MACT, standing for Maximum Achievable Control Technology, would have obliverated many domestic wood products companies at a time when making payroll and keeping the lights on is of paramount concern.
The AF&PA and 17 fellow petitioners succeeded in getting the EPA to delay its rules so that it can collect additional info and comments until July 15.
Donna Hartman, CEO of the AF&PA has already gone on record saying that Congressional intervention is needed to prevent these rules from getting legs. "These rules have been plagued from the outset by inadequate information and analysis as to the potential effects on the businesses, municipalities, universities, hospitals and other institutions that operate boilers.
"A stay of the rules is an important first step and will give the Administration another opportunity to take into account the job-destructive aspects of the rules issued in February," Hartman added. "Ultimately, we believe legislation will be necessary to give EPA the full amount of time they requested and were denied by the court."
A plague, she said. At least we survived the "rapture" of May 21...
Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.
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