Recently on the WFIN “Good Mornings” show with Chris Oaks, State Representative Robert Sprague-R stated that Ohio would have the world’s best regulation of the oil and natural gas drilling industry. It would seem that Rep. Sprague did not get the memo from his Republican party that regulations kill jobs. The GOP is right you know, regulations do kill jobs.
Take the oil and natural gas drilling industry, any regulation to protect the environment, whether to protect the water table or that restricts drilling operations in seismically unstable regions, will kill jobs. It may make some wells too costly to operate or the added costs could put some marginal drilling companies out of business. Whole sections of our state could be off limits to drilling because of the risk of seismic activity caused by drilling operations. In all of these cases, jobs will be killed.
So, why would Rep. Sprague support regulating the oil and gas drilling industry? Well, slogans like “Job killing regulation” may win votes, but slogans do not make for good public policy. In the real world, government regulations protect consumers, the environment and regulations protect industry for itself.
The classic example of the government regulation that was at the foundation for a whole new industry is the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). In 1926, the pioneers of civil aviation came to the federal government asking to be regulated. They believed that without federal safety standards the public would never perceive flying to be safe enough to support civil aviation as a viable business. The FAA and business worked together to build public confidence in civil aviation.
This is the lesson that Rep. Robert Sprague is trying to apply to the oil and nature gas drilling industry. The market cannot regulate itself; the incentives run 180 degrees in the wrong direction. In the long-term, effective government regulation is essential to a healthy marketplace. The question for Rep. Sprague is, how can one be an effective legislator when you belong to the party that puts simple minded political slogans before sound public policy? “GOP slogans kill good government”.