Republican Candidate for the Congressional Fourth District David Steinhof visited Mansfield’s Controlled Environment Structures (CES).
CES builds materials for construction purposes, mainly for static-free clean rooms and commercial refrigeration. Steinhof spoke with CES president Rob Adams about the pressures of being a small manufacturing business in a business climate of regulations and the economy.
Adams said that so much regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency has been hurting his business. Adams said his biggest problem with the regulations is, in his opinion, the fact that the EPA takes punitive measures rather than actually trying to help and try to fix the problem.
“The gleefulness and the attitude of the [EPA] employee is ‘Aha! I got ya!’” Adams said.
Steinhof said he agreed, stating that in his dental practice, similar agencies and regulations can impede business practices rather than help them.
“Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the EPA specs come in and, find something that may be a little off or odd, and say ‘you know, can we help you figure this out because we deal with this all the time,’” he said. “They should take a hand in fixing the problem.”
Steinhof pointed out that the EPA’s punitive regulations are not fixed by first offense or the severity of an offense, but rather based on a range that can fluctuate for each individual infraction.
“There’s no punitive limits,” he said. “How do you how much they’re going to hit you for? Who’s watching them to say ‘hey, let’s be realistic… the business could probably handle that, get back on track and be willing to comply.’ But instead they’re going to get wiped out by some enormous fee that has no basis in reality.”
Federally, Forbes has cited the approach in recent months as very severe, following the resignation of EPA regional administrator Dr. Al Armendariz. Armendariz resigned after video was released of him comparing the EPA’s approach to regulating oil companies. He said
“We make examples out of people who are, in this case, not complying with the law,” he said in an April 2012 interview. “We find people who are not complying with the law, you hit them as hard as you can, and make examples of them. There’s a deterrent factor, and companies that are smart see that.”
Armedariz resigned because of an analogy he made during that speech between his philosophy and that of Roman conquerors, saying that making examples punitively of a company was like the Romans making examples of newly conquered peoples through crucifixion.
While oil and gas companies are probably not so in need of protection, the method can starve smaller companies, and Steinof said that’s what he wants to stop.
Steinhof went on to say that the only way to do that is to make the EPA into an organization that helps businesses.
“We need to make the EPA a partner in our quest to get manufacturing back instead of an antagonistic relationship,” he said.