The Iowa Association of Business and Industry is pressing state policymakers to take steps in 2011 to ensure state regulations are not stricter than regulations at the federal level.
“When the state, after the fact, proposes a regulation that is tighter than the federal government and sometimes, frankly, not based on what our folks would say is ‘sound science,’ then (businesses) have to have two compliance programs,” says Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “They have to have two different intiatives and that just increases costs and ultimately decreases the amount they have to increase jobs or to put into business expansion.”
Ralston cites examples of proposed state rules which he says were “more aggressive” than federal standards. “Just recently the (Iowa) Environment Protection Commission proposed rules for water quality that are much more stringent than the federal government,” Ralston says.
In 2008, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry opposed proposed new state rules for the disposal of what’s left over after coal is burned for energy and in 2009, the group lobbied against the state Environmental Protection Commission’s proposed rules on greenhouse gases. Those two sets of rules were not implemented, however.
Governor-elect Terry Branstad has said he wants a complete review of all state rules and regulations, with the goal of eliminating what he calls “job-killing bureaucracy.” The Iowa Association of Business and Industry wants to participate in that process, according to Ralston.
“We’re talking about manufacturers that employ, literally, hundreds of thousands of Iowans. They want to comply with state and federal law. They want help complying. They don’t want the state or federal government to come in and say, ‘We got ya,'” Ralston says. “They want to be sure that they’re education and informed and that these rules are based on sound science. That’s what’s at issue here.”
The Iowa Association of Business and Industry released its list of 2011 legislative priorities today, and a “careful review” of state regulations is on the list.