Friday, June 17, 2011

Environmental Regulations by Colleen DeShazer

PHS 100 A
Warner Pacific College
June 16, 2011

Environmental regulations affect us every day of our lives. From the time we get up in the morning to the time that we turn off the lights at night. Every aspect of our daily lives is regulated and it always costs us money. Since 2009 when Obama took office the United States Environmental Protection Agency has finalized 928 new rules and proposed 703 others. All of this regulation comes with a price as well that costs the regulated communities millions and in some cases billions of dollars. At this time the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to utilize any form of economic impact analysis when implementing rules. The costs that are associated with the implementation of new regulation cannot be easily absorbed in some industry sectors and in most cases is passed on to the consumers. In some cases over regulation or costly regulation can make doing business in the United States so cost prohibitive that companies chose to send our jobs overseas.
Environmental regulation is a necessary part of our culture and has most certainly assisted us in correcting significant public health issues as well as correcting and preserving the biodiversity in our communities. Clean air and water regulation that was implemented in the 1970’s has brought life back to polluted waterways and brought safer water into our communities. However, as with most government agencies is it possible that the EPA has become an out of control governmental giant that is simply implementing new regulation to create new sources of revenue to sustain the EPA’s administrative growth? The EPA’s budget increased 34% from 2009 to 2010 to an astounding $10.3 billion dollars. Approximately $13 million dollars of this is set aside for led clean up in the Chesapeake Bay. Efforts to clean up this site have been on- going for over 25 years and have cost taxpayers billions of dollars without any successful outcomes. Shouldn’t we be spending these valuable dollars elsewhere?

The economic impacts are an integral piece of the environmental regulatory process. Regulation is necessary but only when the benefits of regulation outweigh the harm. Regulation has to be realistic in the sense that it is not created for political purposes or “feel good” reasons, meaning symbolism over substance. Regulation needs to serve a true public purpose one that accounts for public health, long term health of our environment our ecosystems and biodiversity as well as managing economic impacts to our economy. If we have a productive economy that isn’t being regulated out of business and we allow business to flourish in an environmentally responsible manner there will be more resources available to solve our environmental problems. However, if you regulate our economy into non-existence where then will the money come from to solve our economic problems? Simply regulation is a necessary part of doing business in our country and abroad, however over-regulation that stifles the economy, causes loss of jobs and loss of capital injections into our economy that does not clearly solve our major long term environmental problems is nothing more than government growing more government.

Oregon State Land Conservation and Development Department:
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2010) Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (4th ed.) New
York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 13: 978-0-321-71534--0

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