Lugar responds

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A [June 27] letter to the editor entitled “Lugar column sparks policy questions” asks for some examples of actions that have generated my claims of regulatory overreach at the Environmental Protection Administration. I am thankful for the question and welcome the opportunity to respond. 

The Obama administration, through EPA regulation, has sought to push forward with its aim of establishing a “cap and trade” scheme it does not have the votes to force through Congress. This is a topic of huge concern, because EPA’s restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions will in effect represent a new energy tax on Americans, raising energy prices and in turn threatening Hoosier jobs and further endangering a weak economic recovery.

The EPA has parted company with common sense in a number of other areas as well. Take for example the agency’s unrealistic proposal to mandate the reduction of farm and rural dust, or the EPA’s claim of the authority to treat spilled milk from farm storage tanks in the same manner it regulates dangerous oil spills, or an attempt to require new, duplicative permit requirements for pesticide applications on top of existing requirements. This last, double requirement is a challenge for public health officials who would be restricted in their ability to control mosquitoes and the spread of West Nile virus, not to mention that it could cost states, local entities, and pesticide applicators $50 million per year to implement.

Regulation has its place, and I agree that government has an appropriate role in ensuring the safety of the American public. Sometimes, however, the cost of compliance can far outweigh any desired benefits.

Sen. Dick Lugar

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