President Barack Obama’s inaugural address was an ode to big government.

And, of big government entities, perhaps the most toxic to the American economy is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  However, this federal agency cannot hold a candle to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in terms its ability to create a poisonous effect on the economy.

CARB has smothered the California business climate.  Their regulation to control the emissions of formaldehyde is an excellent example of what happens when government power is placed in the hands of self-righteous eco-activists.

Jeff Lassle is a citizen who was at the center of the fight to stop the implementation of this regulation.  He was a director of a 135-year old forest products company.  However, once the CARB formaldehyde emissions regulation was implemented, Lassle lost his job.

“These rules killed my job, the jobs of hundreds of Californians, and the livelihood of thousands of American in other states – because, according to the interstate commerce clauses, manufacturers who make items for California must meet our state’s guidelines,” said Lassle.

Some basic background on formaldehyde highlights how draconian the CARB rules are. Formaldehyde is a simple chemical made of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. It occurs naturally and is made within our bodies. The typical human produces 1-1/2 oz. of it every day (and you can have 2 ppm in your bloodstream at any moment).

Formaldehyde does present specific health hazards (e.g., it is “known to the State of California to cause cancer“, and can cause allergic properties); however, these hazards are not pertinent to the already low levels found in wood products (especially when they are coated or painted). Furthermore, the concentrations that CARB mandates to be permitted in composite panels for furniture products are not set on hard data – just the desire to be the lowest level on the globe. (More can be found HERE).

As a result of a job loss attributable to these measures, Lassle recently sent a letter to Robert Jenne Assistant Chief Counsel for CARB that highlights the profound, personal impact self-righteous eco-activists:

CARB decided in 2006 that composite panels in California, due to formaldehyde, was killing up to 2500 people yearly due to specific nasal cancers and supported by the FEMA Trailer incident, CARB went full speed ahead to regulate those of us who were in that business, many right out of existence over regulations that were poorly defined and constructed and not based in science.

CARB stated that this regulation was a priority and it must be put into place immediately to save lives without recourse from the industry or without mercy to those in the industry on the consequences of CARB’s Ex Post Facto regulations whose only purpose was to punish those within the industry.  CARB’s models showed an enormous amount of virtual deaths in California from formaldehyde but upon checking the statistics of actual deaths from the nasal area cancers, they were so few and caused by other means that one has to question the competency of your unelected agency and its attack against the citizens of California.

CARB began these regulations right in the midst of a national financial crisis giving those in this regulatory class virtually no chance for survival and a means of making a living.  To exasperate the issue, CARB to this day, given the danger to California society from formaldehyde so it was said, refuses to even enforce their own regulation, where just a couple years ago refused to take industry’s warnings as to the economic effects of CARB’s actions and procedures on implementing the regulation as written.  Today, many in your organization stated that the regulations were faulty and compiled incorrectly and hastily.  …

Mr. Jenne, now that I have lost everything I have built in my life, what shall I do now?  There are no jobs to replace my career; the money lost in your misguided, poorly designed regulation cannot be replaced and have no means of present or future financial support.  We warned you of this and as stated before; you knew better, we were wrong and you and CARB were right, you are always correct considering that one of your scientists was a fake who had bought his PhD from a mailbox in New York for $1,000.

It’s not just the wood industry that was impacted. Recent application of the formaldehyde emissions rules have led to the discovery of elevated levels in day care centers.  It seems that this regulation is made to create more fines, more fees, and more government-growing rules that CARB can implement.

It is also a template for regulatory implementation that will be used at the federal level, especially if Obama’s vision is enacted. The prognosis is not good for the effect on the American business climate.


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