For the past month or so, I have been watching the ongoing Texas vs. Feds fight. The gloves are now starting to come off as Governor Perry is playing a role in the disagreement between the Feds (EPA) and Texas regarding “polluting” companies. The spin from EPA’s Regional Administrator Al Armendariz is that they’re protecting the public from polluting companies, which have been given a free pass from the Texans. Granted, my experience is strictly with small businesses – but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) requirements are far from “easy” on business.
When you get right down to it, the fight is between Texas’ approach to streamline the regulatory process (that’s a real oxymoron) and what the EPA wants to see. It’s not about companies controlling their pollution. It’s about the process being used to document — yet, if one listens to the media, you would think that Texas is allowing companies to pollute will-nilly.
If you ask most manufacturers, they say they’re willing to make the changes to reduce pollution, but the paperwork demands are draconian (and these guys are talking about the Texas regulators). On the other hand the regulators take the position, that if you don’t document how will you prove that you’re not polluting/complying.
It’s an interesting argument, but I feel that the EPA’s approach at present is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Why not find creative ways (as Texas has done) to start companies down the road of compliance? Rather than fighting about making the public comment longer (one of the EPA’s major complaints), how about finding ways to help companies reduce pollution? Tax breaks? Assistance? Naw, that just makes too much sense.