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08 August 2011

Lant: ALEC Conference

What a marvelous opportunity it was for me to participate in the ALEC Conference this past week. ALEC is a non-partisan group of legislators from every state that hold a conference yearly to act as a clearing house for ideas and to propose model legislation to help guide legislators in proposing bills to address today's problems. To be completely honest, most of us were fiscal conservatives, but there was certainly representation of both major political parties as well as several delegates with independent views. The topics discussed were not of a political nature. The workshops and subcommittees were addressing issues that are now, and will be, of vital importance to each of us. I was part of a subcommittee on commerce, insurance, and economic development. Medicaid was one topic that was discussed at length and how current and future Federal Rulings will affect participant numbers and consequently costs. There were different ideas brought forth for cost containment by individual states. One idea that seemed to make good sense to me was giving states more flexibility in dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues.

Another workshop dealt with a smarter approach to improving our environment by addressing the costs of proposed EPA regulations on energy affordability. Under new EPA regulations, "downwind pollution" is going to be regulated starting next year. This has the acclaim of being the most expensive regulation ever imposed and yet most of us have never heard of it. The regulation is imposed on coal fired plants that are located close to another states' border and could possibly let some of their smoke drift across the line. Never mind how the heck they are going to measure the amount or tell how much the other state drifts back our way when the wind changes, everybody gets to pay more! The conservative estimate of job loss and energy price increases from this EPA ruling alone is 17.8 billion dollars. Please don't take this wrong, I am certainly in favor of cleaner air and water, but we also learned that since 1980 the pollutants from coal fired plants have dropped by over 80%. There are plans now being implemented to further reduce the emissions. We already have the cleanest power plants in the world and will soon be even better if the EPA doesn't continue to impose regulations that are impossible to meet. Please don't take me wrong, I'm not for dirty air and water, but there is a point where regulations become punitive. If we cause energy prices to raise so high that our industrial complex moves off shore where there are no regulations, the result is much higher percentages of air pollution worldwide and we all lose.

We were honored by several speakers at breakfast and lunch. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Steve Moore with The Wall Street Journal, Marvin Odum, President, Shell Oil, Tucker Carlson, Political Analyst for CNN, and last but certainly not least, Dick Armey, Former House Majority Leader. Each of these gentlemen gave us their views and opinions on current events and pending train wrecks. Much to my pleasant surprise, to a person they expounded the belief that we will recover from our recession and emerge better than ever. Each one of them gave accounts from their experiences of how, just when it seemed impossible to solve our problems, good old American ingenuity found a way. I'm sure looking forward to reporting that when it happens!

Next week I'll go into some of the other meetings. Until then, I am and remain, in your service.

1 comment:

  1. Bill, Did you know that LA Gov Booby Jindal & I were freshman & junior year roommates at Brown? How about that? I did a piece on BBC Radio a couple if years ago about Bobby. I'm glad to elarn the heat wave is letting up.
    Lee McDaniel
    Neosho/Seneca, MO