NFIB is the nation's largest small business advocacy group representing 600,0(X) small businesses in all fifty states. NFIB's membership reflects the general business profile by having the same representation of retail, service, manufacturing and construction businesses that make up the nation's business community.
In addition to being a small business owner, I also volunteer and serve as Chairman of Pennsylvania's Small Business Compliance Advisory Panel. This panel is mandated by Section 507 of the Clean Air Act Amendments to help small business as part of the Small Business Stationary Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Program. This program has been enormously successful despite underfunding and has become a model for small business programs in other environmental legislation.
Our small business program conducts seminars, offers a toll-free confidential hotline, low interest loans and many other outreach efforts for small businesses. Every state has such a program in varying degrees of effectiveness. These programs are valuable tools to improve our air quality and are overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency.
In my position as Chairman, I am keenly aware of the progress we are making in cleaning our air. What appears to be ignored is that air quality has improved significantly since passage of the Clean Air Act, and the 1990 amendments have not even been fully implemented. It is therefore imperative that only requirements that are essential be mandated. What I suggest is that we move towards more complete compliance with existing standards before revising them.
As a small business owner, the economic impact and burdensome regulations of the proposed standards would significantly affect and threaten the livelihood of my business. As a manufacturer of road pavement, my business operates asphalt plants and hauls stone as a raw material. The moving of equipment and materials creates minor particulate matter. I also have air emissions from my heavy truck and off-road equipment. Some of this equipment is old, but works well. I simply cannot afford to buy new equipment to comply with the proposed regulations.
As a small business owner, I am active and involved because I have to be. Careless regulations will put me out of business. Not only will small business owners lose life savings and investment, but our employees lose their jobs and our communities will suffer economically. For that reason, I am shocked and disappointed that the EPA has declined to consider the effects of this proposed rule on small business.
Last year, Congress passed and the President signed a law that requires the EPA to assess the impact of regulations on small business. To date, the EPA has refused to do this on the ozone and particulate matter standard. Because this regulation is likely to have a great impact on a variety of small businesses, I hope that the EPA will carefully consider the consequences before they impose this new standard.
Rather than implementing new regulations for clean air, I recommend utilizing and encouraging the use of present means to achieve air quality improvements. There are technologies presently available to help clean our air. In our company we voluntarily look for ways to improve the environment. In 1980 my father developed a new, ozone-friendly technology for asphalt roads. This technology is exemplified in a material called HEI-WAY General Purpose Material or HGP. A two year university study documents that HGP emits seven times less Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) - in the form of low molecular weight normal and branched alkane hydrocarbons - than the present technology used to pave roads. Additionally, this technology also eliminates a significant water pollution threat to rural streams and wetlands.
Under standard technology, present road paving methods allow more than 10(X) gallons (or three tons) of gasoline-type VOC to evaporate into our troposphere for every mile paved. HGP reduces this VOC air pollution by 85 percent. On a nationwide basis, of the nearly 4 million miles of roads in the country, this technology is applicable to over 60 percent of them. In Pennsylvania alone, if just 1 percent of the roads were paved each year with HGP instead of the standard technology, over 3000 tons of VOC air pollution would be eliminated. The HGP technology could be more widely used to lower VOC air emissions as soon as EPA allows for Discrete Emissions Reduction Credits (DER) under the New Source Review.
In closing, it is important to keep in mind the unique nature of a small business owner when examining our reaction to environmental legislation and regulations. Small business owners wear many hats. Two of the most important are being both a business owner and a citizen of a community. We drink the water, breathe the air, and fish in the lakes. We want a healthy environment for ourselves and our children. However, we also expect the government to be fair and responsible.
New regulations as proposed by EPA for ozone and particulate matter are unnecessary, will result in an enormous regulatory burden and threaten a business that my family has spent 41 years to build. A viable framework is in place. It consists of new, environmentally friendly technologies, such as HGP, and couples these initiatives with existing programs. The system is working. Let's use what we have.