July 31, 2017, Kewaskum, Wisconsin
Although initially well-intentioned, government agencies operated by un-elected, ideological bureaucrats at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been promoting over-the-top environmentalist policies at the behest of the “green” movement. Many of these well-intentioned, but futilely useless policies have had devastating effects at the expense of family supporting jobs, small businesses and the quality of life for lower, middle and fixed income classes. While we should encourage stewardship of the blessings we have been given, we must be cautious that we do not worship at the altar of planet earth.
The heavy hand of the EPA and DNR have been decimating economic growth in select regions of Wisconsin by creating artificial, government sanctioned, economic inequality from one region to the next. These locales have been dubbed “No Growth Zones”. Case in point: Sheboygan County. Two air quality monitors are located in the county. One is illogically placed upwind of the factories and located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The second one, quite rationally, is located downwind of factories with atmospheric emissions. The upwind monitor collects transit air that has been percolating over the lake from a few larger cities south of our border – Chicago, for example. Interestingly, the more accurately placed monitor falls within EPA limits, but the arbitrarily placed monitor that doesn’t even sample Sheboygan emissions is not. This unscientifically placed monitor is the EPA’s stalwart and has elicited an F air quality score by the American Lung Association, a score that would remain an F even if the county did not have a single resident or operating motor within its borders! No one is against clean air standards, just the complete lack of common sense and scientifically inept location of a monitor by government bureaucrats. Why should a small business in this “No-Growth Zone” be required to spend 3-4 months on red tape approving a new piece of machinery while a similarly sized company a few miles away in another county can install that same equipment in a matter of weeks? And then there is the issue of reformulated gas. If it is such a great idea, then why doesn’t everyone in the country and every gas station have to provide these blends? Reformulated fuel blends (RFG) have been harming hundreds of small business owners and countless residents in the six county region of SE Wisconsin for decades. Who wouldn’t cross over the county line to save ten cents per gallon if they were just a few miles from the border? One small business owner near a “No Growth Zone’s” county line recently told me that he lost nearly 50% of his business since the 1990’s Congressional solution: “The Clean Air Act”.
Manipulations by government to artificially and arbitrarily stifle the economy affect everyone – from seniors fueling their vehicles on a fixed income to the business owners that have to deal with cumbersome red tape and ultimately, the lower wage employees who lost their jobs at the behest of big brother D.C. or Madison when sales went south. It is time to for us to wake up, eliminate the status quo, and force the hand of the un-elected within government to end their ideological stranglehold on our economy and society as a whole.