But one very interesting battle that has generally gone un-noticed is the defiant stance taken by the Texas Committee on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the state of Texas concerning unprecedented encroachment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency into the issuance of greenhouse gas permits in the state under new rules recently imposed by the EPA. In an open letter to EPA administrators Lisa Jackson and Alfredo Armendariz, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan Shaw and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott stated the following, "In order to deter challenges to your plan for centralized control of industrial development through the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases, you have called upon each state to declare its allegiance to the Environmental Protection Agency's recently enacted greenhouse gas regulations -- regulations that are plainly contrary to United States law”. Wow, heady stuff.
Much has been written about the current administration’s attempts to federalize areas like health care that heretofore have been within the states' domain. And, from a business owner’s point of view, you definitely start getting the feeling that we’re headed toward a patronizing, “we know better than you” centralization of power.
But, does a central political apparatus really know what’s better for local business? As a staunch advocate for R&D investment in clean energy, I was dismayed by the recent decision to “borrow” $1.5 billion from a U.S. Department of Energy Department renewable-energy loan program to help pay for emergency education and Medicaid aid for states. The rationale was that the money wasn’t being allocated fast enough due to governmental bureaucracy. Instead of streamlining the process, we’ll just take the money. Huh? Only Voltaire’s Pangloss could put a positive spin on that logic.
Personally, I fear the centralization of power in a free market democracy because, fundamentally, its ability to execute will never be as good as a centrally planned and governed economy. Juxtapose this example, the Chinese government mandating the closure of 2,000 energy inefficient manufacturing plants by September 30th with the current TCEQ vs. EPA fight. How much time and how many millions of dollars will be spent to resolve the permitting issue? I am certainly not advocating more central planning; quite the contrary. I am most worried about the U.S. stagnating somewhere in the middle with an increasingly burdensome and costly central structure disrupting the normal flow of markets and the ability of businesses to execute.
Just food for thought. I’d love to hear your opinions.
As always, feedback welcome.
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