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Regulatory reform is a good thing


February 22, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

The Federal Register is the official journal of the U.S. government that contains government agency rules, proposed rules and notices, including those that may affect the electric utility industry.

The new Trump administration has generated a large volume of dialog over issues ranging from immigration to health care.  We see voices on these issues every night, both for and against changes to existing policies.

One thing we should be positive about is regulatory reform.   One administration proposal is that for every new regulation, two must be eliminated or significantly reformed. The administration has also reached out to business groups requesting regulatory changes that would streamline how businesses operate.

According to a recent George Washington University study, the volume of regulations published annually has increased from 75,000 pages per year in 1975 to nearly 180,000 pages per year in 2015--and growing.   

Businesses have staff and employ consultants to monitor these daily, so that compliance is maintained.    Specifically, the electric utility industry is one of the most regulated industrial segments in the country. Utility environmental regulations are particularly extensive. Stack gases are monitored constantly and all water and wastes are extensively tested.  The Clean Air Act has not been revised in over 25 years and many affected by it believe it is in serious need of reform. 

A good number of reforms could be implemented with no adverse impact to the environment.  For example, should it take four to eight years to obtain a permit to construct a power plant?  Is it necessary to review air quality standards every five years that take 10 years to implement?    There are simply too many federal regulations in place that can adversely impact business operations and cost consumers.