With only nineteen months left in office, time is running out for President Obama to pursue his sweeping and destructive environmental goals. But he is determined to make the most of this time. That’s why the White House continues to push an already eager EPA to enact as many restrictive and costly environmental regulations as possible. This agenda will have no positive impact on the earth’s climate, nor will it improve the quality of life for any of us. Unfortunately whatever the president is able to ramrod through during his final months in office will come at the expense of American workers and families.

Let’s take a look at three examples of these egregious regulations.

{mosads}The White House is now promoting broad new EPA regulations that will bring virtually any body of water including rivers, streams, and even large puddles under federal control. A prairie pothole will be treated as if it were the mighty Mississippi. It’s a massive EPA power grab that will be hotly contested, as it will severely impact agriculture, home building, and energy industries with costly new environmental burdens. 

The EPA is also set to issue the first-ever federal regulations on methane emissions this summer despite the fact that our nation’s energy producers are already working to minimize methane leaks/waste.  As American Energy Alliance President Tom Pyle said, “It would be like issuing regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream.”  Recent studies have shown that methane emissions are declining dramatically even as energy production has surged across the country. But why let facts deter power-grabbing bureaucrats?

Finally, this EPA will also complete its new ozone regulation even though roughly one third of the country is still working to meet existing ozone standards. Communities that don’t meet new, more stringent standards could face EPA fines, sanctions on federal transportation and infrastructure funds, and bureaucratic red tape that will only delay economic growth and development. The National Association of Manufacturers warns that the new ozone regulation will be the most expensive ever to come from Washington. Studies show that it will shrink gross domestic product by $140 billion and cost the average household $830 annually and place 1.4 million jobs at risk, especially those in the energy and manufacturing sectors.

Equally troubling are the heavy-handed, Obama-like tactics of some states to impose arbitrary environmental fines on businesses as a way to balance state budgets. North Carolina’s treatment of Duke Energy is a prime example. Duke Energy – one of the state’s largest employers – was hit with a $25 million dollar fine that wasn’t even associated with any specific environmental mishap. It is no secret that Duke Energy is working to remediate numerous coal ash storage sites around the state but to have the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources slap Duke with a $25 million dollar fine is both arbitrary and excessive.

North Carolina business leaders are worried about how the state may be driving new business investment away. The NC Chamber of Commerce recently wrote, “We worry that this approach by DENR discourages transparency, as opposed to working openly with businesses to correct problems. And if regulators are perceived as unpredictable will such a climate drive business out of North Carolina?”

Volvo just recently announced that it will build its new $500 million auto manufacturing plant near Ridgeville, South Carolina. North Carolina had fought hard for the Volvo plant but instead will watch as the new facility is built just across its border. North Carolina also failed to attract a new Boeing jet facility, now located in South Carolina as is a $500 million Daimler van manufacturing plant. Mercedes-Benz opted to locate their US headquarters in Atlanta and Toyota chose Plano over Charlotte for theirs.

It’s true that financial incentives offered by states play a large role in attracting new industry. This factor makes it all the more important that no North Carolina state department be seen as anti-business.

As the Obama administration works feverishly to expand the size and scope of the federal government and negatively impact the economy, it’s time on the state level for a commonsense approach to environmental stewardship, one that doesn’t sacrifice jobs or impose massive new costs on working families.

If we continue down a path of bigger government, costly regulations and unfair treatment of business, we could see our nation’s energy boom and a budding resurgence of U.S. manufacturing stall or collapse. Our nation is on the verge of a real energy and manufacturing renaissance if our state and federal elected leaders will only allow it to occur.

Forbes is chairman of Forbes Media Inc. and editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine.


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