When it comes to promoting economic growth for communities like Douglas County, the federal government needs to be responsive, not reactive, to private sector interests, Congressman Mark Amodei, R-Nev., argued at GE Energy in Minden on Friday.
“You represent livable wages and benefits packages so people don’t have to rely on the emergency room for healthcare. You are the fabric of your community,” Amodei told a group of GE employees. “These things also generate tax collections without having to create new tax structures. We’re not going to get back to a balanced budget until the private sector gets going.”
Amodei toured the Minden plant after receiving the Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award from the National Association of Manufacturers.
“What goes on in Washington has a profound effect on what goes on here in business,” said GE Bently Nevada General Manager Art Eunson, who presented the award to the congressman.
Eunson listed regulatory areas where Amodei’s support helped manufacturers, such as coal ash restrictions among power generators, shale gas and other unconventional energy exploration, and export/import bank financing, all of which, Eunson said, “were aimed at driving manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”
Amodei described his political support as “intuitive.” He said he wants stability and predictability in terms of regulation and tax structure. He emphasized streamlining and expediting federal permitting processes and also the sale of public lands near urban interfaces. The latter, he argued, could circumvent the lengthy lands bill process.
“No one wants bad water or air. No one wants irresponsible use of land or the destruction of animal species,” he said, “but it is possible to use natural resources in a responsible way.”
Good policy, he maintained, is allowing local control where possible, and, at the federal level, fostering collaboration and communication between applicants and permitting agencies.
An example of bad policy, he continued, was when FEMA adopted new flood insurance maps for Carson Valley watersheds in 2008, leading to a protracted legal battle.
“I don’t want to ever have one of my counties suing you (FEMA) again and have it turn out they’re right,” he said.
Referring to the Douglas County Lands Bill, Amodei said he prefers local parties solve any disputes before federal lawmakers act. He expects the bill to be introduced in the next 30-45 days and passed in the 113th Congress.
Amodei reiterated that land use and resource decisions should be based upon empirical evidence.
“Let’s not go into a resource issue for the sake of claiming political victory,” he said.