MAY 16, 2012
Federal policies slowing job creation in Arizona, lawmakers declare
STATE CAPITAL, PHOENIX– Angered by the Obama Administration’s radical environmental policies, a trio of Arizona state lawmakers is calling on Congress to “rein in” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal bureaucracies whose policies and decisions are hampering economic growth in Arizona.
State Senators Al Melvin (R-Tucson), Gail Griffin (R-Hereford), and Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) made their call in a recent letter to Arizona’s congressional delegation calling for an investigation into how federal policies and environmental regulations are stifling economic growth, development, and job creation, especially in rural Arizona.
“From mining to forest restoration, the federal government is costing Arizona thousands of jobs each day by delaying, denying, or disallowing dozens of projects that would otherwise be employing out-of-work and unemployed Arizona residents,” the letter stated. “It is outrageous that the President talks about job creation at the same time that his policies are having a paralyzing effect on Arizona’s job market. This must end now.”
The letter specifically references a number of existing and potential job-creating projects that are threatened or negatively impacted by federal policies. They include:
• Rosemont Copper, whose efforts to employ hundreds of southern Arizona residents is being slowed by federal environmental regulations;
• Tribute, a residential development project in Sierra Vista, whose water supply is being threatened by the Bureau of Land Management;
• Four Forest Restoration Initiative, a multi-jurisdictional effort to dramatically expand forest restoration and create hundreds of jobs in northern Arizona, which has been delayed by nearly a year by the Forest Service’s failure to issue a contract;
• Resolution Copper, which would create thousands of Arizona jobs and pump tens of millions of dollars into Arizona’s economy, which is being held hostage by federal policymakers who refuse to approve a federal land exchange;
• Asarco, which is being threatened by new EPA mandates that threaten the survival of the mine that employs over 600 Arizona residents near Hayden;
• Various uranium mining companies, whose claims have been denied due to an arbitrary moratorium by the Department of Interior
“Each of these projects has been stymied or is threatened by federal agencies that seem less concerned about creating jobs than they do about expanding federal power,” Senator Melvin said. “It’s time for the federal government to step aside and allow our state’s economy to thrive.”
The lawmakers’ concern with federal policies was reinforced by the recent release of video showing an EPA Regional Administrator favorably compare his Agency’s policies to the ancient Roman practice of crucifixion. Saying that the Romans would “go into a little Turkish town somewhere [and] find the first five guys they saw, and ... crucify them,” the Administrator then said that the EPA was taking a similar approach to American companies, saying that the EPA was determined to “hit them [companies] as hard as you can and ... make examples out of them.”
Senator Gail Griffin expressed her disgust with the EPA Administrator’s comments. “Comparing federal regulatory policies to crucifixion is a sad indication of how extreme federal bureaucrats have become in their approach to industry.”
Senator Sylvia Allen agreed. “Clearly, under this president, federal bureaucrats have come to see themselves as kings and conquerors to whom ordinary Americans must bow in submission.”
The letter concluded by calling on Arizona’s congressional delegation to determine whether statutory changes are necessary to ensure that local efforts to promote economic development and create jobs are not stymied by federal agencies and their policies.
“As a Legislature and as a state, we have done too much for our economy to risk it all to unnamed and unelected bureaucrats in Washington D.C.”