Leadership Views Index


Leadership Views

As published in the January 1, 2012 Toledo Business Journal

Robert Latta, US Congressman

Robert Latta
US Congressman

Reducing business regulations critical to economy

Toledo Business Journal recently interviewed US Congressman Bob Latta. He shared the following thoughts.

Toledo Business Journal: The House of Representatives has passed a bill introduced by Representative John Sullivan (R- OK) called the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act. Can you explain the purpose of this legislation?

Bob Latta: Every district work period, I drive around my district and meet with small and large businesses to hear their concerns and answer any questions they may have about what is going on in Washington. Almost everyone I have spoken with says that regulations – whether from the EPA, OSHA, or any other agency – are stopping them from growing and creating jobs. In some cases, these regulations are actually putting them out of business and leading to job loss.

That doesn’t mean all regulations are bad, but it means that before new regulations are put into place, the EPA needs to look at other things besides benefits. They need to see what effects it would have on jobs and the economy.

It is important to note that regardless of the outcome of the studies required by this bill, an agency is free to move forward with the proposed rule. The purpose of this legislation is to require each agency to look at all of the information available before the rule goes into effect.

TBJ: You have indicated that you support this legislation. Can you discuss the basis of your support?

BL: Some EPA rules that have little, or no, benefits would impose tens of billions of dollars, by their own estimates, on individuals and small businesses. A disproportionate share of these costs would be imposed on electricity production, leading to higher energy bills for individuals and manufacturers. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a utility industry regulator, has estimated that overlapping EPA regulations could take a significant amount of power off the grid and threaten electric reliability in certain parts of the country. This could leave individuals without heat and air conditioning during the coldest and warmest times of year, and force manufacturing jobs overseas. I want to make sure we know the potential consequences of these regulations before they go into effect.

TBJ: One provision of the TRAIN Act would postpone new EPA regulations on gasoline. Can you discuss the issues involved?

BL: An amendment by Representative Kinzinger (R-IL), would add certain gasoline regulations to the list of rules required to be studied. There was some concern about how certain EPA regulations would affect gas prices. However, without a study of each rule’s potential effects, we have no idea what the possible price consequences may be. I believe that it is always better to have all the relevant information before making decisions. This is especially true if these decisions could raise gasoline prices or put people out of work.

TBJ: Can you explain the purpose of the legislation proposed by Congressman Geoff Davis (R- KY) called Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act? Can you provide insight into regulatory changes from Washington that have taken place during the past two years?

BL: Regulations are a major assault on businesses’ bottom line, a Small Business Administration study estimates federal regulations cost businesses and people over $1.75 trillion per year.

To rein in our runaway regulations with excessive costs on businesses, the House has passed the REINS Act, a bill that would prevent unelected bureaucrats from automatically imposing regulations that have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more.

TBJ: You have indicated that you support this legislation. Can you discuss the basis of your support?

BL: With a 9% unemployment rate in Ohio and across the United States, American workers and small businesses cannot afford more rules that make it harder for businesses to grow and hire more workers. For that reason it is critical to have a measure in place that carefully looks at the unintended consequences federal regulations may have on businesses and Americans alike.

TBJ: Can you discuss the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act introduced by Representative John Sullivan (R- OK) and your position on this legislation?

BL: Approximately 100 cement-manufacturing plants exist in America, employing 13,000 workers, including a Lafarge cement plant in my district. Cement manufacturing is a foundation of our nation’s infrastructure and the latest round of EPA regulations threaten to shut down 20% of the nation’s cement plants in the next two years. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which I serve on, estimates that increased construction costs resulting from these regulations could lead to the loss of 12,000 to 19,000 construction jobs. An additional 3,000 to 4,000 direct jobs would be lost as a result of plant closures.

The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act delays the implementation of the EPA’s current rules to allow time for a more thoughtful and less economically burdensome alternative, while still maximizing protection of public health. In these tough economic times, it is inexcusable to put jobs at risk when you can accomplish the same goals without putting people out of work. This gives the EPA time to create a more thoughtful and beneficial set of regulations for our nation’s cement plants.

TBJ: Are there any other issues that you would like to address?

BL: Since President Obama took office, he has talked about jobs more than 200 times and signed into law an economic stimulus package for the price tag of $1.2 trillion. Despite the President’s claims that spending creates jobs, the national unemployment rate has been above 8% for the last 34 months and the jobless rate in part of the Fifth Congressional District is as high as 10%.

With the recovery grinding to a halt, the White House and the Senate should set aside their differences with the House of Representatives and work on passing important legislation that improves American manufacturing, global competitiveness, energy prices, and jobs. In addition to the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, REINS, and TRAIN Act, the House has passed other bills that help create a more business-friendly environment:

  1. The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R 872) Reduces overlapping and unnecessary regulation on pesticides; thereby reducing costs to both farmers and small business owners.
  2. The Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910) Prohibits the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions; thereby preventing a needless increase in energy prices for American households and businesses.
  3. A Resolution of Disapproval Regarding FCC’s Regulation (H.J. Res. 37) Prevents the federal government from regulating the Internet and broadband providers
  4. Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R 1230) Helps to reduce energy prices and promote job creation by expediting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.
  5. Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229) Promotes job creation and reduces energy prices by reinstating oil drilling permits in the Gulf Coast.
  6. Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R 1231) Promotes lower energy costs and job creation by allowing drilling in at least 50% of the Outer Continental Shelf areas known to contain the most oil and gas.
  7. The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R 2021) Promotes job growth and reduces energy costs by expediting the process of obtaining an offshore drilling permit.
  8. The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (H.R 2018) Prevents the federal government from interfering with a state’s water quality program once that state has already met existing federal standards; thereby eliminating needless red tape and tinkering by bureaucrats.
  9. The Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1315) Improves consumer protection and provides greater economic stability by allowing the Financial Stability Oversight Council to vote to set aside any harmful federal regulation.
  10. The North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938) Promotes job creation and energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
  11. The Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587) Seeks to guarantee private companies the flexibility to develop their businesses in the state that offers the best opportunities for growth, job creation, and stability.
  12. The EPA Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2250) Alleviates the excessive regulatory burden placed on employers by the EPA’s Boiler MACT rules, potentially costing companies $14 billion and 224,000 American jobs, and replacing them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs.
  13. The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273) Bipartisan legislation providing consistent, safe management of coal combustion residuals in a way that protects jobs and encourages recycling and beneficial use.


Leadership Views Index