"Our national task today is to restore the conditions for economic recovery, without which our prosperity and our national security cannot be assured. We must restrain the headlong growth of the Federal budget; enact multi-year across-the-board tax reductions to spur new job-creating investment and productivity; roll back the tangle of regulations which needlessly hamper enterprises; and cleave to a sound monetary policy which preserves the strength of the American dollar. But even as we act boldly to achieve these goals, we most work to create the conditions for expanding the ownership of the nation's wealth, so that all Americans may have their fair chance to become true proprietors of their country." 

--Ronald Reagan, Letter to Pierre S. du Pont IV, Delaware, 1981
 
 
The New American

William F. Jasper 

Get set for the Obama administration’s post-election tsunami of business-killing, job-killing, economy-killing federal regulations. It’s already begun. Take a look at www.regulations.gov, the administration’s regulatory website. The home page informs us that in the last 90 days, the administration has posted 5,934 new regulations.

Yes, our federal bureaucrats have been very diligent. The above-mentioned website informs us of their daily productivity of regulations over the past 90 days:

Today (121)

Last 3 Days (274)

Last 7 Days (371)

Last 15 Days (826)

Last 30 Days (1,915) 

Last 90 Days (5,934)

How will these regulations affect you, your family, your job, business, ranch, or farm? You may not have federal SWAT teams descend upon you, as has happened to dairy farmers and natural food store operators who dared to sell raw milk products not approved by the federal Food & Drug Administration (see here and here) or the hundreds of other Americans subjected to Gestapo-type treatment for running afoul of the volumes of murky and convoluted regulations that fill the 169,301 pages of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) published in the Federal Register. However, even if your home, farm or business is not personally “visited” by agents of the FDA, EPA, OSHA, SEC, or any of the myriad other federal agencies, you will pay a huge price nonetheless, both in economic costs and in loss of freedoms.

A cost analysis by the Small Business Administration in 2008 found that the cost to our national economy of compliance with federal regulations was an astronomical $1.75 trillion!

That was in 2008. The cost, of course, has escalated dramatically in the four years since that study was conducted. We should note also that the 169,301 pages of federal regulations referenced above covers only those promulgated through 2011; it does not include thousands of pages added in 2012. Nor does it include the thousands of pages that are expected to soon be dumped into the pipeline by bureaucrats who had been instructed to hold off until after the election. 

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2011 the Code of Federal Regulations increased by 11,327 pages — a 7.4-percent increase. The regulatory burden is now a crushing weight on the entire economy, a hidden tax which is equivalent to roughly half the current federal spending and equal to the entire federal budget of the late 1990s. 

A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce entitled Project No Project found that a broad range of energy projects “are being stalled, stopped, or outright killed nationwide due to a broken permitting process and a system that allows nearly limitless opportunities for opponents of development to raise challenge after challenge.”

The impact has been truly mind-boggling. The Chamber of Commerce study reported: 

In total, the 351 projects identified in the Project No Project inventory could have produced a $1.1-trillion boost to the economy and created 1.9 million jobs annually during the projected seven years of construction. Moreover, these facilities, once constructed, would have continued to generate jobs, because they would have operated for years or even decades. 

That’s nearly two million jobs annually, just in the energy sector, that are being killed by the federal regulatory straitjacket. 

In an op-ed in the Washington Post on November 13, attorney Keith A. Ashmus noted that the regulatory cliff rivals the fiscal cliff among small business owners’ biggest concerns. And it is almost certain to get worse, if Team Obama has its way. 

“Following [Alleged] President Obama’s reelection and the continuation of the current majorities in the House and Senate, we can expect continued difficulty moving initiatives forward legislatively in Washington,” noted Mr. Ashmus. “That means more regulatory activity, unrestrained by the any concerns about the president’s reelection. The Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board are likely to go after employers, large and small, with regulations that make it more difficult to manage workforces and obtain outside help understanding the legal requirements concerning unions.”

Obama Regulatory Plan: Sly, Not Shy

Not that [Alleged] President Obama has been shy about using executive branch regulations to get the Big Government programs he has been unable to get passed legislatively. In fact, following the 2010 congressional elections, in which the Democrats suffered historic losses in the House of Representatives, the Obama White House indicated it was going to move ahead with its agenda by executive fiat. The New American reported on this unconstitutional regulatory usurpation plan at the time. (See Obama Eyes "Executive Orders" to Circumvent Congress.)

However, with the economy imploding, unemployment skyrocketing, and with eyes fixed firmly on the 2012 presidential election, President Obama began a major effort, in 2011, to make it appear he was sensitive to the needs of job producers, especially stressing his administration’s commitment to easing the regulatory red tape that is so fatal to small and medium businesses that create most of our jobs.

Amid great fanfare, on January 18, 2011, [Alleged] President Obama signed “Executive Order 13563 — Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.”

Read this story at thenewamerican.com ... 

 
 
Provided courtesy of IndependenceForever.com

The American - The online Magazine of the American Enterprise Institute

By Rep. Fred Upton

It is an exciting time for American energy, but only if American energy policy spurs innovations rather than stifling them.

U.S. energy policy needs a reboot—a broad reassessment of our strategies—because much of what we thought we knew has either dramatically changed or turned out to be plain wrong.

When I first became involved in these issues, President Jimmy Carter told us our domestic energy supplies were running out and a foreign cartel would determine everything from the cars we drove to the temperatures in our homes. The future he painted looked bleak.

Consider oil and natural gas. Not long ago, many believed supplies had peaked and it was only a matter of time until we were left with nothing but dry holes in the ground and increased dependence on foreign imports. Based on this belief, Washington decided that American taxpayers needed to spend dramatically on developing alternative supplies to replace hydrocarbons.

[Alleged] President Obama continues this policy today. During his recent energy public relations tour, he repeatedly referred to Republicans as subscribers to the “flat earth” worldview because we do not share his affinity for massive taxpayer spending on more expensive energy sources. But if anyone is stuck in the past, it’s [Alleged] President Obama, as he has refused to acknowledge the great potential of America’s energy resources thanks to new technologies that help us unlock them.

New discoveries and production of resources like shale oil and gas are dramatically altering our energy supply outlook and the entire global geopolitical landscape. And the pace of change—particularly in the past few years—continues to accelerate.

When it comes to energy supply, efficiency, and environmental safety, our prospects are better than they have been in a long time. And the outlook will only improve if the government unleashes the private sector and stops getting in the way.

North Dakota’s story is illustrative. As recently as 2006, the state ranked ninth in the country in oil production. By 2013, the state could move to the number three spot, behind only Texas and Alaska, according to The Institute for Energy Research. In fact, North Dakota's January oil output eclipsed the current third place holder, California. Production may more than double again within five years.

Private sector breakthroughs created this new energy boom; the federal government is not involved.

By fully harnessing the power of our own previously inaccessible energy resources—and by forging strong partnerships with neighboring nations—America is on the cusp of being able to chart a course toward North American energy independence. It is an exciting time for American energy, but only if American energy policy spurs these innovations rather than stifling them.

Despite imperfect knowledge about what lies ahead, we have learned important lessons from the past that are guiding our reforms. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I’m chairman, has already begun this fundamental reform effort and we will continue our activities in the months ahead.

First, government choosing technology winners does not work. Instead, we too often pick losers. In the late 1970s, billions were wasted on synthetic fuels. Today it’s Solyndra. It turns out that our energy outlook has changed not due to government subsidies, but to private sector technology innovation. For example, America is now the largest natural gas producer in the world and could become the largest oil producer by 2017. Why? Because private sector know-how and market forces helped unlock previously inaccessible supplies. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is conducting an exhaustive review of the limits of government-sponsored energy production, and hopes to release our findings in the next several months.

Second, we need not stifle resources to protect the environment. We can develop energy resources as we improve environmental safeguards. For example, horizontal drilling technology means that a single surface operating structure can replace several surface structures. Likewise, the pipelines we build to carry oil and natural gas will employ, wherever needed, state-of-the-art inventions such as automatic or remote control shut-off valves and leak detection systems that didn’t exist just a few years ago. I made sure that provisions for those technologies were included in the pipeline safety reauthorization bill that [Alleged] President Obama signed into law on January 3. This year, my committee will provide the American people even more information about how technology has improved the energy and environmental outlook.

Third, we need an “all may compete” energy policy. In this hyper-partisan age, vilifying certain types of energy has become a common way of promoting others. This will not improve energy affordability. It’s a mistake to declare war on any source of supply because, if we have learned anything about energy, it is that future technology will not be what is now predicted. My committee will continue to assess whether current policies advantage some energy sources over others.

Finally, given our new knowledge about resource abundance, including the power of technology to unlock supplies and use them in cleaner, more efficient ways, we should do all that we can to reduce barriers to responsible development of domestic resources. Approving projects like the Keystone XL pipeline or streamlining the extensive permitting process for energy projects are two examples of how we can get government out of the way. Before the end of the year, the House will pass measures to spur energy development by cutting through the red tape.

We stand at a unique and bright moment in our energy history. To take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead, it is imperative that we reconsider our basic assumptions about energy policy, including rethinking the correct role of the federal government. Ingenuity and freedom have produced a more abundant energy future than we ever imagined. Misguided Washington interference is the biggest threat to these gains.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) is chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

FURTHER READING: Nick Schulz interviews Upton in “Revolution in the Rust Belt.” Kenneth P. Green contributes “Not Free to Choose: The Reality behind Clean Energy Standards” and “Government Is a Lousy Venture Capitalist.” Mark J. Perry says “Unleash Private Sector to Produce Energy, Create Jobs.” Jon Entine asks “Future Energy: Natural Gas Fracking—Who Blew Up the 'Bridge to the Future'?” Arthur Herman adds “Framing the Keystone Debate.”

 
 
Provided courtesy of the Committee for American Resource Self-Reliance

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Environmental Protection Agency had "no legal basis" to disapprove a Texas plan for implementing federal air-quality standards, a federal appeals court said.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the agency to reconsider the Texas regulations and "limit its review" to ensuring that they meet the "minimal" Clean Air Act requirements that govern state implementation plans.

"If Texas's regulations satisfy those basic requirements, the EPA must approve them," the court said in its 22-page ruling this week.

The EPA rejected Texas' rules on minor new-source review permits in September 2010, saying they didn't meet Clean Air Act requirements. The Texas attorney general, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and businesses sued the EPA, challenging the ruling.

The EPA failed to identify any provisions of the law that the Texas program violated, the appeals court said. The agency also missed a deadline to rule on the Texas permit plan, the court said.

Read this story at star-telegram.com ...