Letter: Trump seeks to reduce waste

Published 10:35 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

In a recent editorial, Jennifer Vogt-Erickson wrote about a robust government being a necessity for our changing world. The argument for big versus small government is one of the defining differences between our current political parties, so I won’t pretend a letter to the editor is going to change anybody’s minds about this issue.

Government produces nothing, but relies upon taxes from the private sector that produces wealth. The higher the ratio you have between government and private sector employees, which she states has tripled, and the government spending per capita, which quadrupled, is very stressful on any economy.

My profession revolves around environmental protection and employee safety in the manufacturing sector. While I make my living in this sector and believe whole-heartedly in my objectives, I also wholeheartedly agree with the actions that Trump is taking towards regulatory agencies. Environmental regulations, like the Clean Air Act, are some of the most complex pieces of legislation out there. American businesses spend billions on compliance. This regulation is too complex and places many burdens on manufacturers that do nothing to protect the environment. Trump, and those who support his roll-back of two regulations for every regulation enacted, are not advocating we go back to dumping toxic sludge in our communities and spewing black smoke.

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Let’s say you start a grain mill and make flour. Next to your mill is a field and gravel roads. In the course of milling grain, you produce grain dust which you exhaust. You now need to have an expensive air permit, dust mitigation equipment and maintenance, annual reporting fees and hire somebody like me to manage your permit. The farmer next door produces the exact same dust cultivating, planting and harvesting his field. This is the exact same grain dust that the mill next door spends tens of thousands of dollars per year to control. You have cars driving on the gravel road next to the plant, kicking up dust. Every dollar that plant spends to control an organic dust that would quickly settle to the ground and return to the soil, is an increase that you, the consumer, pays for.

In another case, a sugar-beet dump where farmers bring their beets to a big pile that gets transported to a sugar processing plant, has spoiled beets that get spread back into a field. Makes sense, right? Not to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The MPCA then prosecutes the sugar-beet company because it illegally disposed of industrial waste. Does this make sense to anybody?

These are the exact types of government waste, overreach and red-tape that Trump and conservatives seek to eliminate, but Jennifer’s views of big-government create more of. Bureaucracy holding back our economy, affecting our rural communities, and stealing your hard earned money to make far less impact than organizations like local sportsman’s clubs would make if we had enough money and time to support them. These groups do far more to protect the environment than the Paris Accord ever could.

Brad Kramer

Albert Lea