The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Congressman John Shimkus (R, IL), held a hearing last week on “The Role of the States in Protecting the Environment Under Current Law.”
Shimkus contends that the states are in a better position many times to regulate the specific needs in their communities rather than a one size fits all approach dictated by Washington. The hearing heard from state regulators about their activities and involvement implementing state and federal laws, which burden private-sector businesses and job-creators, and create a web of regulations that drive costs up for working families.
In his opening statement Shimkus said: “This hearing will help raise awareness and set the stage for future discussions we are going to have on environmental protection. Many of us get caught up with what the U.S. EPA thinks or what it can do and fail to focus on the states and what they can and must do."
“The states are by no means junior regulators or the minor leagues of environmental protection. Rather, their plate is twice as full. To carry out federal environmental law, states have a lot of delegated authority. But states also have their own protective laws. Often, beyond anything the federal government has asked."
“State regulators have every bit the same educational background, expertise, desire to protect the environment, and sense of professionalism as any employee at EPA, with the added bonus of actually living in the communities they are trying to make safe. They intimately know the terrain being regulated.”
Specifically, fracking is an issue that is currently dealt with at the state level. Shimkus cited Maryland and other states as having implemented rules and regulations that are working.
“I want to encourage the General Assembly to pass common sense legislation that will allow for the development of new natural gas production in our state,” Shimkus added. “The Senate reached a unanimous agreement last year, and I hope they take this issue up again.”
The Illinois Chamber Foundation’s study found that over 40,000 jobs and $9 billion in economic activity could be generated if natural gas development moved forward.
“The missing piece is state guidelines,” Shimkus noted.