A top Republican leader in the House of Representatives last week urged fellow Republicans to continue into the fall and winter their fight against what he called “job-destroying regulations” and their support of business tax relief and general regulatory reform.
Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) singled out 10 proposed environmental, labor, and health regulations, which he promised to block. These include air pollution control technologies for power plants, industrial boilers, and cement plants, as well as regulatory proposals for coal ash, airborne particulate matter, greenhouse gases, and union organizing.
Following Cantor’s call, House Republicans set their first oversight hearing—regarding regulatory relief for cement makers—for Sept. 8.
Also last week, President Barack Obama told federal departments to identify and speed government review and permitting for at least three large infrastructure projects with high job potential, and he set Sept. 8 for an address to Congress to announce his job creation program. That date was Obama’s second choice, however; his first choice met with Republican objections.
Politics aside, economic studies find that spending to conform to environmental regulations is either job neutral or positive. Looking at spending at pulp and paper mills, plastic manufacturers, petroleum refiners, and iron and steel mills, researchers at Resources for the Future, a nonprofit group, found meeting environmental regulations to be labor intensive, resulting in a net gain of 1.5 to 6.9 jobs per $1 million spent primarily for air pollution reductions.