Myrick: Regulators go too far, not far enough
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just can’t do anything to please Congresswoman Sue Myrick.
On a visit to the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce on Friday, June 17, Myrick first criticized the federal agency for over-regulating oil, gas and coal industries.
Then, a few minutes later, as she argued for more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, she blamed the federal environmental agency for not doing a good job regulating a BP oil well and allowing the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.
Myrick got a warm reception from her business audience. A businessman, who said he works in the “oil and gas industry,” complained that the environmental agency is “trying to shut down the coal industry, “and over half of our power comes from coal.”
Myrick agreed and complained about “czars” of large federal agencies taking actions that contradict congressional action. She cited the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions after Congress defeated proposed “cap-and-trade” legislation. That proposal would have required polluting industries to control emissions or “buy” capacity from nonpolluting industries.
The federal agency should be issuing more permits quicker to allow companies to drill for natural gas and oil off America’s coasts, including the Gulf of Mexico, Myrick said.
“I admit we had an accident that set us back in a big way,” but the disastrous BP oil spill could have been avoided if the Environmental Protection Agency had properly monitored the work on the Deepwater Horizon, she said.
Regulation of the financial industry also took a beating at Friday’s gathering.
Jim Engel, president of Aquesta Bank, complained that new financial rules are unfairly punishing community banks and the small businesses they serve. Bank regulators are now forcing banks to foreclose on what he called “performing-nonperforming loans,” Engel said.
In those cases, businesses have never missed a payment on their loan and show no signs of defaulting, but the business’s collateral has lost value in the recession and like many private homeowners is now worth less than what the business owes.
“Federal regulators are basically making you put these people out of business,” Engel said. “Without the lending, it’s very difficult for a small business to expand.”