Opinion

EPA Makes Excessive Rules, Plants Close, Jobs Move Away

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Joanne Butler Contributor

Last June, I wrote about how Obama’s EPA was driving stained glass makers out of business.  The EPA’s diktat forced firms to install expensive equipment to limit cadmium emissions – without bothering to inspect each firm’s emissions situation. Apparently the EPA found it easier to declare all firms guilty and not bother with inspections. But I did get something wrong in June when I predicted production would move to China.  Mexico, not China is the winner for now.

On September 22, Spectrum Glass (maker of popular and affordable stained glass in Washington State) announced the sale of their brands, formulae, and equipment to Oceanside Glasstile in California.

And where does Oceanside make its glass?  Tijuana, baby!

Spectrum’s press release states how the Tijuana plant uses the same emissions capturing system that Spectrum had in its Washington facility.  I guess that would be the system the EPA deemed inadequate without bothering to check.

And now they never will as EPA’s powers stop at the border.

If moving production to Mexico proves successful, other stained glass makers may follow suit.

Spectrum was a volume producer of stained glass, for hobbyists and artists.  But even smaller, boutique glassmakers (glass that’s used in making artsy bowls sold in museum shops, etc.) may find it’s worth it to go south of the border if the glass quality and colors remain consistent.

Just to clarify, the artsy bowl for sale in the museum shop would be crafted in America, but the boutique sheet glass used to make the bowl would come from Mexico.

In economic terms, because glass art is a non-essential good, it is very sensitive to pricing.  Even glass art is not exempt from the laws of supply and demand.

Thus, glass artists using boutique glass need to keep their price points attractive to get their merchandise moving.  With glass being a major input (heating costs are another), they may find using equivalent – and cheaper – Mexican glass is important for continued sales.

And it’s not a stretch to imagine Oceanside’s Tijuana plant becoming a nexus for similar plants; attracting workers with the skills needed to manufacture stained glass.

Good news for Mexican workers; bad news for American workers.

As I mentioned in my June article, Spectrum’s closure resulted in 124 jobs lost.  Now we know where those jobs ended up.

How many more jobs will the EPA ship overseas?  If Hillary Clinton wins in November, then Spectrum’s experience will likely be the first in a series of plant closures and jobs heading south (Mexico) or west (China).

Hillary’s campaign ads say she’s all for creating jobs for Americans.  Here’s some truth in advertising:  her ‘jobs’ are nice clean ones, not the icky dirty ones she and the EPA don’t like.

Her policy on icky dirty jobs?  Same as Obama’s: ship them out of the USA.  Just ask those 124 Washington State workers who lost their jobs earlier this year due to an EPA regulation, only to see their jobs reappear in Tijuana.  ¿Muy estúpido, si?