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  • On Environmental Regulation, Obama Can't Have It Both Ways

    Whatever his other qualities, outgoing White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley seemed to understand that punitive environmental policies entail tradeoffs. When one environmentalist explained the health risks of increased air pollutants, Daley asked, rhetorically, “What are the health impacts of unemployment?”

    That sense that the economic damage wrought by environmental regulation must not be ignored has been sorely missing from the president’s economic policies (though Daley reportedly tempered the president’s knee-jerk regulatory agenda). With him gone, the president is reverting to his old “have your cake and eat it too” approach to environmental regulation.

    “We don’t have to choose” between a strong economy and strong environmental regulations, Obama insisted during a speech at the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday. Leaving aside for a moment the issue of whether increased regulations will actually produce cleaner air or water, on a host of issues, that dichotomy has been very real, whether or not Obama acknowledges it, and he has consistently backed stronger environmental regulations over sound economic policies.

    The clearest example is the Keystone XL pipeline. The administration’s delays have imperiled thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity. The president says it could imperil aquifers in the area, but has yet to explain why the multitude of other pipelines passing through the same aquifer would not. So while he toes the environmentalist line, the economic damage continues, and our water supply is no safer for it.

    This was the same mentality that drove the administration’s Gulf oil drilling permatorium. The administration did a body blow to the Gulf states’ economies precisely when they could afford it least. Again, the president cited environmental cleanliness, but “all of the operators in the Gulf [don't] need to be shut down because there was a mistake on one rig,” as New Orleans native, and owner of oilfield equipment company R&D Enterprises, Leslie Bertucci put it. “To me it’s the most irresponsible decision that could have possibly been made.”

    Now the administration has implemented yet another permatorium, this one on uranium mining in the Colorado River Basin. The Interior Department issued a ban on new mining operations there, though it will allow already-permitted operations to continue. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar cited environmental concerns, but not economic ones, in touting the move.

    Regardless of the supposed environmental benefits, less uranium mining will mean less economic activity. The president doesn’t seem to understand, as Bill Daley did, that these tradeoffs are unavoidable. Or he does understand it, and the “we can have both” rhetoric is simply posturing.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    24 Responses to On Environmental Regulation, Obama Can't Have It Both Ways

    1. @PFKaP says:

      6000 temporary jobs will not make a dent in the economy whatsoever.

      • michelle says:

        It means something to the people that will become UNEMPLOYED!

      • rpa85259 says:

        Tell that to the 6000 that get a paycheck for a while…better than nothing, no?

      • Brian Epps says:

        The increased availability of resources those 6000 temporary jobs would build will make quite a dent. You need to think past stage one.

      • Johnnyb says:

        Tell that to the miner with a wife and 3 kids. It's ok for certain working people to be impoverished? I'll bet you've never worked in a factory or at anything resembling blue-collar work in your life. You're a certifiable pantywaisted beta male.

      • Jeff, Illinois says:

        Amen! And the environmental risk is HUGE! Then there's the fact that none of that oil is going to be used in our nation! America at present is exporting gasoline to keep the supply down and the price high! Check it out . . it's all a ruse!!

      • Lloyd Scallan says:

        Ask the 6000 workers if it makes a "dent" in there lives.

      • ronbo says:

        OMG you are so right, I'd much rather have no job than a temporary one (and it wouldn't make any difference in my economy anyway, right?).

    2. James A. Mason II says:

      This is exactly what scares me so much about Obama. It is all or nothing and when chief of staff Daley was there, he obviously approached this issue with caution. Now that voice of sanity is gone and the prospect of horror enviormentalists going out of control is a real possibility.
      Such facts reveal that the number one issue facing this nation is the defeat of Obama's re-election and winning conservative control of the HOuse and Senate.

    3. michelle says:

      Oh my gosh…this administration is outrageous!! They need to go…WAKE UP AMERICA, before it's too late.

    4. odah says:

      is this sort of scorched earth policy …lets destroy everything we can now before we lose the election ..america isn't decaying it is being gutted

    5. @MrFeverHead says:

      So why don't we just invent an imaginary chemical that pollutes everything and requires expensive equipment to remove it from all industrial, commercial and government enterprises? Since adjusting to regulation apparently creates jobs we have the key to full employment in our hands.


      Our president has once again substituted shifting wealth for creating wealth.

      You decide.

    6. lord garth says:

      actually, in theory it is possible to optimize health benefits and economic benefits

      but that requires rigorous analysis of regulatory increments

      lots of times, the data doesn't support such analysis, othertimes the law does not allow it

    7. Stirling says:

      This has always been the problem with "progressives" they think that they CAN have it both ways, but also that the consequences are not their fault when reality comes crashing down on their dream utopia.. As they say "The ends justify the means.." This is why people wonder "Why?" so much about this administrations choices, when in actuality the choices are NOT made on comon sense but on the ideology.

      • OKBecky says:

        Related: the belief that making something legal does away with any negative fallout; or that negative consequences are the results of the hatred and unreasonableness of other people, and not due to actual, logical consequences of the legalized activity. (I have no particular activity in mind.) So, saying, "We can regulate our way to clean air, and have a thriving economy, too!" is very real and true, hypothetically, but it will take a long time to get there and require some compromises for the rest of us, the fallen humanity part of the American commonwealth. So, they're not living in reality, because they think that if they refuse to acknowledge it as reality, then it simply will have no effect on them. Kind of like in "Labyrinth."

    8. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Oh my gosh . . this article is outrageous!! Wake up America and discover the truth. Not the distortion reported here, before it's to late.

    9. jim says:

      Wake up America It will be interesting to see who replacess Bill daily. OOOOOOOOO NOOOOOOOOOO

    10. TimAZ says:

      The potus proves on a daily basis that he can in fact have everything any which way he desires. To date the regimes actions have little to no consequences. Had enough yet?

    11. Red Baker says:

      Obama and the Democrats have all but aborted the economic recovery. They have no plan to revive the economy. If we counted all the people who have left the labor force, there are 24 million unemployed, or a rate of about 11%. Obama's only agenda is spending, taxing, borrowing, and regulating. He is at war with private employers and all those who create businesses.

      We are economically ill, and with all the extreme, continuous borrowing, headed to the same financial calamity as Europe. Under Obama, there is no hope of economic recovery, much less avoiding disaster.

    12. richard40 says:

      It would have been legit to shut down the gulf just for BP, since it was their rig that caused the spill, and their safety record was worse than the other gulf operators. But since, prior to the spill, BP had been an Obama crony, he punished everybody, for the sins of BP.

    13. Don Jameson says:

      There should be a Federal law that coal, oil, and finished refined products like gasoline, fuel oil, etc. should never be exported from this continent. These will be necessary to sustain our own population for generations to come. If the pipe line is built it should bring oil down in to the States for domestic use – not export. Furthermore, and you know who said it: If we had followed his advise, "Drill here, Drill now", we wouldn't be paying $3.59 per gallon tonight for gasoline.

      Don Jameson

    14. Don Jameson says:

      There should be a Federal law that coal, oil or finished products like fuel oil or gasoline can not be exported from this continent. These products will be necessary for generation to come. Further, if the pipe line is approved, it should be for sole purpose of bring oil in to the States, not for exporting oil from a Gulf port. A few years ago a well known motto from somebooy who is in the news lately was "Drill here, drill now" If that had been done, I wouldn't have had to pay $3.59.9/gallon for gasoline tonight.

    15. Bobbie says:

      Lets see… businesses running by rules and regulations of their own governance without an issue, here comes big bad unconstitutional government. "Hey, we'll just add to your efficient standard of regulations with all our inefficient standards of speculations and create more costs to go to jobs that maintain those regulations mandated by government authority!? the more jobs micro managed or regulated to create jobs, the more narrower and limited the thinking process becomes. Unconstitutional government got America here, unconstitutional government isn't going to get America out!

      get rid of the delusion of jobs that costs money and the regulations that prevent generating money! The people and economy will pick themselves up.

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