From the Columbus Dispatch, we learn that Governor Kasich’s top priority for his Indiana pick to head the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is… to issue permits to pollute quicker.
Kasich, then governor-elect, said Scott Nally’s main goal is to cut bureaucratic delays at the Ohio EPA that hold up pollution permits businesses must obtain before they can begin operating.
The delays, the governor said, create a backlog and stall job creation.
"Guys around the state, you mention the EPA to them and they have palpitations," Kasich said. "Delays and paperwork and bureaucracy is going to come to an end."
First, John Kasich is historically wrong. The Ohio EPA has such a business friendly reputation that in 2001, the U.S. EPA threatened to take away the Ohio EPA’s authority to enforce the federal Clean Air Act in Ohio. You read that correct. The EPA under President George W. Bush actually told the Taft Administration that they were being too lax in enforcement.
And the reason there would be a “backlog” of EPA permit applications is because a review of an industry’s permit application was flagged for having information that the agency had questions about, such as… oh, I don’t know, whether the process and procedures the industry proposes to use is scientifically sound to produce the environmental impact claims the industry is claiming.
But this still hasn’t stopped the business community from cheering the news:
"Time is money, and improving the permitting process has always been a priority of ours," said Jennifer Klein, environmental policy director for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Okay, if this were such a problem, though, you’d expect that the Kasich or the Environmental Policy Director of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce could cite one example of how the Ohio EPA’s permitting process is killing Ohio jobs, right?
Klein could not provide specific examples.
Not a single example.
So what is Kasich’s EPA Director likely planning to do?
Bowden Quinn, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club’s Hoosier chapter, said Nally helped install a program that tracks permit requests and created a merit-pay system that rewards employee efficiency.
"They’ve always been very clear that their agency’s role is to churn out permits to help businesses create jobs," Quinn said
You know what an EPA that is more concerned about getting permits approved for major industries quickly without careful examination of the environmental claims by that industry got us, don’t you?