Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret have fired off missives to federal EPA director Lisa Jackson protesting that agency’s recent endangerment finding which will potentially allow for massive new regulations on any private entity involved in industry.
Both state officials take a very jaundiced view of further federal intrusion on the carbon dioxide/climate change issue. Jindal’s letter asserts that a change in policy toward carbon emissions should properly come only after Congressional debate on the subject, and lays out the prospective effect of new EPA regulations on Louisiana’s economy:
Louisiana is the second largest refining state in the US. Our state is also a major producer of oil and gas utilized domestically by our country. Implementation of the proposed rules will have a dramatic chilling effect on the refining and production capability of our state. The proposed tailoring rule and other proposed greenhouse gas regulations will introduce a new permit regime that will impose both costs and burdensome processes on our refining, production and energy industry as a whole. Diminished production and refining capacity of southern states will certainly result in a major impact on energy supply, fuel prices and energy security for the entire country.
Moreover. these EPA’s proposed regulations will tangentially force commercial, industrial and major agricultural employers to spend less money on labor, thereby further reducing employment during these already tough economic times. Worse. Louisiana and the entire country will likely lose industry to other countries without an increased benefit to the environment. Indeed, the impacts on the global environment may ultimately be negative, as facilities will likely be relocated to countries that do not have the restrictions and requirements currently utilized in the United States.
Moret says much the same as Jindal, though he speaks more forcefully to an issue that we’ve discussed here – namely, the deleterious effect proposed “climate change” legislation has had on industrial construction and the typical capital improvement plans within Louisiana’s vital oil and gas and petrochemical industries:
There is a significant risk that adoption of a new industrial GHG control policy by the U.S., without similar commitments from other countries, could result in severe economic harm to our state and our country without materially reducing global GHG emissions. Moreover, in the case of new industrial facilities, such a policy could hurt both our economy and global climate change because it would encourage large manufacturing operations to be developed in countries that have lower environmental standards than the U.S.
The threat of unilateral U.S. policymaking on GHG regulation already has held up billions of dollars of potential business investment in our state as companies fear both the huge costs and policy uncertainty associated with GHG regulation. This could not be happening at a worse time, as our industrial construction sector already is under severe strain as a result of the national recession and tight credit markets. At the very time that we most need companies to be kicking off large new industrial construction projects, many larger firms are keeping their capital “on the sidelines” as they evaluate the impact GHG regulation could have on their business plans.
The likelihood either Jindal or Moret will win the day with Jackson is exceedingly minimal, but at least both are on record on the subject. It would not be a bad idea at all for Jindal to weigh in further on this subject, in a similar manner to his Wall Street Journal piece on health care this summer.
The EPA issue is an outstanding one for Republicans, as the idea that unelected left-wing bureaucrats should descend upon America’s productive class and in so doing drive away American jobs is a particularly noxious one. If Jindal has national ambitions for 2012, he could do much worse than to take the lead on this issue and beat back the regulators.