Of course, the EPA’s ire is focused on more than just the chemical industry. Economically massive initiatives — delayed for political reasons in the president’s first term — are expected to slam the economy in the early days of his second term. The implications stand to be severe.
Perhaps most prominently, a fresh revision of the EPA’s ozone standards was famously shelved in 2011, to the disdain of environmentalists.
The decision to punt on the revision was politically expedient, as stricter ozone standards threaten to carry massive economic costs not just for industry, but for countless cities, counties, municipalities and states that would suddenly find themselves out of compliance. According to the EPA itself, this new standard would cost the economy about $90 billion annually by 2020.
Not exactly a strong talking point for a candidate focused on touting his plan for economic recovery.
The regulatory hurdles taking shape, in other words, are significant. But as this second term commences, there may be some hope. Officials on both sides have expressed a seemingly sincere interest in finding solutions that work for both sides. Efforts to avert the coming fiscal cliff will provide a first test for this burgeoning bipartisanship.
Where we go from there, though, remains to be seen.
Harry C. Alford is president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce and chairs the Government Operations, Oversight, and Consumer Affairs Committee for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.