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Critics worried about EPA's green jobs initiative

By Michael P. Tremoglie | May 15, 2012


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Department of Commerce Secretary John Bryson announced Monday an environmental technology initiative that will help "create jobs in the growing environmental industry."

The Environmental Technologies Export Initiative National Export Initiative is a plan to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014 and support millions of American jobs. According to the EPA announcement, the American environmental industry generates approximately $312 billion in revenue each year, with a global market of more than $800 billion.

This growing industry employs nearly 1.7 million Americans and includes over 60,000 small businesses across the country, the EPA says.

"When it comes to technology that conserves resources and protects the environment, America leads the rest of the world by a mile. This is largely thanks to the value Americans place on environmental protection and to the innovation of our entrepreneurs," Jackson said.

"As other countries start to take environmental challenges more and more seriously, there is a growing global market for the technologies that have been and continue to be developed by innovators on our shores. Today we're taking steps to make it easier for American companies to enter and succeed in that market."

But some are not so enthused.

James M. Taylor, Senior Fellow for Environment Policy at The Heartland Institute -- a public policy think tank in Illinois -- said from the preliminary information available the program seeks to promote big-government solutions to minor or non-existent environmental problems.

"Given the lack of specifics provided by EPA at this stage, it is hard to give a more concrete assessment of the initiative," he said.

"Nevertheless, the initial information provided by EPA makes me very concerned about this becoming yet another costly, unnecessary, and economy-killing EPA program."

Dr. Kenneth Green, the resident environmental scholar for the American Enterprise Institute -- a Washington, D.C., think tank -- said the preferable action is for government to stop intervening in the marketplace. It should instead develop ways to streamline their operations and reduce the burden it imposes on the entrepreneurs.

"Bureaucrats and would-be central planners can not let go of two primary fallacies: first, that they can predict and plan the future, and second, that they can "create" jobs. They can do neither," he said.

He observed that recent history is "absolutely littered with the failed predictions and plans of those who have sought to usher in the great green future at warp speed." The technology companies bureaucrats chose are bankrupt and created few jobs at great cost to the taxpayer, he noted.

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Organizations in this Story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)American Enterprise InstituteHeartland Institute