Wednesday, August 31, 2011

EPA and DOT regulations could cost a pretty penny; but it's worth the cost.

Yesterday I saw an opinion article written by a IU professor claiming the new EPA regulations on GHG emission and coal ash will be “[o]ne of the most significant reasons for the lack of investor confidence in the economy . . . .”

I reacted quickly because I felt the professor made some rather sweeping statements that is not warranted. I woke up this morning to a flurry of news and opinion pieces about the anticipated EPA and DOT regulations that may cost billions in terms of economic investment. I sat for a few seconds and pondered if I should retract my statements yesterday and give the professor back his due respect.

I decided that my earlier intuition was right: that even though we are making some economic sacrifices, and rather heavy sacrifices in light of our recent recessions, we are making the right choices.

First, our nation’s health care bill is running out of control. Childhood obesity is a huge problem and obesity related diseases are burdening everyone whether we have a socialized health care or not. Yet industries are not looking at preventive medicine; rather they continue to push drugs that treat not the root of the problems. So when commentators and opinionists bicker about regulations against unhealthy food, I say let the regulations stand and let’s have a healthier generation of kids.

Second, when EPA is trying to regulate GHG emissions, they are not just trying to cure and curtail the problems of global warming. Leaving that issue aside, there is also a serious health effect on our citizens, especially those who are poor and have no choice but to live near these coal industries. They are dealing with respiratory problems, various cancers, liver and kidney diseases. Regulating the emissions and dumping may be an upfront cost, but it will serve as preventive medical cost and help us reduce our ever-increasing health care bill. Sure there will be a few jobs lost to the closing of the coal industry, but I welcome that change. We needed to speed up our renewable efforts to anticipate the next generation of the energy market.

As for the DOT standards, same economic incentives apply. Innovation will have to be focused on renewable ones and sustainable ones; not the ye-old fossil burning ones.

At the end of the day, I look back at the political squabbles on capitol hill and the influential professor from IU speaking against the forward looking policies; I realized many of the politicians and established industries are like ostridges with their head in the sand – unwilling or even afraid of looking at fifty years from now. They are just worried about their short-term profits and the next election cycle. They really don't care about what our nation will look like down the road, they just want to know Obama is not elected again.

What s shame. Politics should be the highest form of Art according to Plato, but I'll bet he's turning around in his grave now.

I stand corrected in that the EPA and DOT regulations will bring some serious economic impacts and some job losses; but I am hopeful that we are making the right decisions and making the right kind of sacrifices for our children’s healthy future. Paying it forward as opposed to paying it back I guess.

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