- Understand the problems with one-size-fits-all regulations: with an increasing number of unfunded federal mandates – particularly for local governments
– there needs to be a realistic understanding that change takes time. Our communities need to have the flexibility to address environmental problems in a way that maximizes cost-efficiency. EPA has stated its intentions for increased flexibility through an integrated permitting process. I’m hopeful that EPA puts its money where its mouth is.
- Stay in the Sunshine: No more secret email accounts to avoid public scrutiny. No more gimmicks through “guidance” to avoid the proper rulemaking process. If an EPA proposal is good enough to consider, then it is good enough for the public to view, and if necessary, challenge in court.
- When the economy suffers, so does the environment: When Americans are out of work and businesses are struggling, there is less revenue to fund environmental protection and restoration initiatives. Regulations that damage the economy in the short-term will harm overall efforts to improve the environment in the long-term.
- Environmental protection has always been a shared responsibility between the states and the federal government, and it should remain that way. It is important that this partnership remains equal and the federal government does not overstep its legal boundaries.
- Remember that Congress writes the laws, not bureaucrats. The Clean Water Act (CWA) was written and passed by Congress with the intent to protect the navigable waters of the United States. Attempts to fundamentally alter the CWA and expand federal jurisdiction should be a decision made by Congress, not by unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington.
I wish Gina McCarthy the best of luck, and I hope that she and I will have a working relationship that will help both the environment as well as the economy.
Gibbs serves as the chairman of the Water Resources and the Environment Subcommittee.