Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Cotton (R-Dardanelle) spoke on the House Floor about the impact of overregulation on Arkansas’s Timber industry. The video and transcript are below and may be used as an official statement.
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“Mr. Speaker, I rise today with good news from South Arkansas. According to recent news reports, Anthony Timberlands, a cornerstone of the Arkansas timber and forestry-products industry is currently in the process of adding a second shift to its sawmill in Bearden, Arkansas. This second shift will result in the hiring of 65 new employees in addition to creating numerous other support positions within the company and in the surrounding area in South Arkansas. I want to recognize Anthony Timberlands for this exciting announcement and their longstanding commitment to the people and economy of South Arkansas.
“But as I reflect on Anthony Timberlands’ announcement, I can’t help but think of how many more jobs could have been added throughout Arkansas and the United States if it weren’t for the excessive regulation of the Obama administration. For example, states have worked in conjunction with the federal government for 40 years to manage forest roads and prevent pollution with state-managed “best practices.” This partnership has proven effective and provided regulatory certainty for many decades.
“Unfortunately, President Obama’s EPA wants to impose a nationwide standard, giving them the complete regulatory authority over an industry that supports nearly 3 million workers and contributes $115 billion to our economy each year. Under this standard, the EPA will be able to shut down businesses that don’t comply with their arbitrary and misguided rules. States that have a 40-year track record of effectively regulating these roads; and we should let them continue for at least another 40.
“To take another example, the EPA’s new Boiler rule demonstrates this administration’s preference for ideology over sound economics and business sense. With compliance costs in excess of $3 billion, and 105,000 jobs threatened, this rule inflicts unnecessary costs on our economy at a time when we can least afford it. In addition, our timber producers have no guarantee the EPA won’t move the goalposts once again and reopen the regulations as they have in the past.
“What timber and forestry-product companies want—what all businesses want, for that matter—is certainty, not more regulation. They need to know that investments in a new factory or new equipment today means they can keep using it once it’s built, instead of living in fear of the government closing their doors tomorrow. These companies aren’t asking for special preferences or another $800 billion in failed stimulus funds—they’re simply asking for a predictable and fair rule of law, not arbitrary regulation.
“Mr. Speaker, companies like Anthony Timberlands provide quality jobs and lasting economic growth for places like South Arkansas, and the rest of America, despite the obstacles the Obama administration has put in place. I look forward to working with my colleagues to eliminate burdensome regulations and red tape that slow growth, hurt communities, and diminish opportunity. We should celebrate companies that empower hard-working Americans to do what they do best –create high-quality products that lead the world”.