WDEF-TV: Government Rules & Regs Share Blame for Slow Economic Recovery

Oct 27, 2011

As the nation tries to pull out of a recession, the subject turns to the obstacles in the way of economic recovery.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker held a roundtable discussion at UTC Thursday to hear from those who generate the power, and those who create local jobs.

Most of the fingers were pointed at Washington.

The subject was electric rates and reliability, and Sen. Bob Corker invited TVA, EPB, the Manufacturers Association, the U.S. Chamber of commerce..and business CEO's.

With economic recovery expected soon, the question was---how can it be speeded up?

SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE "There's been a tremendous, throughout the nation, a tremendous push-back on just this hyperactivity that's taking place at the EPA, and they are actually pulling back on a couple of regulations that people on both sides of the aisle thought were truly outrageous."

Most of those who spoke said government regulations were a major obstacle. TVA says the EPA is rushing to enforce new rules, that could be handled logically.

TOM KILGORE, PRES. TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY "If we could make gradual improvements every year, as opposed to having 2015 as a deadline when you've got to have all your coal plants comply to different requirements..it would be a lot easier."

Other speakers produced data that showed it may cost businesses a trillion dollars to comply just with current regulations.
EPB CEO Harold DePriest told the group that many government demands will be taken-care of automatically as businesses and utilities move ahead.

HAROLD DEPRIEST, CEO, EPB "We're all environmentalists, we all believe in where we're going. But let's try to pace what we're doing and not force change that we're going to get anyway for free."

DePriest said 70% of Chattanooga's power system was built before 1970. He says it's already being upgraded environmentally.

Senator Corker serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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