What did Elk Grove Councilmember Rod Brewer mean they discussed 'regulatory relief' with the EPA?

In 2018, the American Bankers Association sought and was granted "regulatory relief" by President Donald Trump, with bi-partisan support from provisions of the Dodd-Frank bill that was meant to protect consumers. That "relief" has been a contributing factor in the recent collapse of several banks. 

Near the end of the Wednesday, April 26 Elk Grove City Council meeting, the public heard reports from the mayor and city councilmen. Part of their discussion was their then-just-completed lobbying trip on the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce's Cap to Cap visit to Washinton, DC.

Aside from learning freshman Councilman Sergio Robles had "fun" on the taxpayer-funded junket and Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen claiming she and her councilmen were heaped with praise for their governance, the reports were sketchy with one exception. That exception was from the other freshman councilman, Rob Brewer.

In his report, which can be viewed in the video below, Brewer said he was assigned to the "land use natural resources team," who met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and four members of Congress.  

"Talked about challenges that is happening in the areas of building and making sure that regulatory relief in terms of tearing down some of the red tape and streamlining some of the processes to help make that work a lot easier," Brewer said. "So, as we know, we are doing some building." 

Though Brewer's statement lacks detail, one phrase, regulatory relief, stood out.

First, it is worth noting the lobbying agenda came from the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. As with the large metropolitan, state, and national groups, chambers of commerce advocate for business interests, not taxpayers, consumers, or pro-environmental purposes. 

Taking it one step further, Brewer was assigned (or volunteered?) to the land use-natural resources team. What type of regulatory relief were they seeking?

Was it for less stringent air quality or looser emission standards? They may have advocated for the continued use of fossil fuel-burning automobiles and commercial vehicles beyond the state goal of 2035.

Furthermore, Brewer did not elaborate on what red tape they sought to cut. Given land use was part of their mission, maybe less stringent or revised floodplain maps from the Army Corps of Engineers allowing developers to build in flood-prone areas without proper mitigation.

We invite Councilman Brewer to provide more information about what regulatory relief they sought on behalf of Elk Grove taxpayers. In theory, Brewer was in Washington DC advocating for his constituents, not some billionaire businessperson hoping to further line their pockets with more cold hard cash on the back, or lungs, of consumers.

Given an influential business group organized this, unless Brewer says otherwise, it is reasonable to believe the regulatory relief Brewer supported wasn't for the benefit of District 2 constituents.  

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Brewer need not say more. The development lobby knows exactly what "regulatory relief" means--water down the standards and streamline the process so they can lower their costs and pocket more profit. The developers are probably thinking along the lines of Chris Farley's famous Matt Foley SNL skit line,  Brewer, "I wish you could just shut your big yapper! 

When our low level politicians go to Washington, the big dogs see fresh meat! And when the Sac Metro pushes an agenda handed to them by developers, well, the fix is in and our fresh meat is simply there to carry the developer's water in search of taxpayer handouts or rule changes. 

The big dogs know that "regulatory relief is a dog whistle to mean more profits. But they sure don't want impressionable local politicians getting giddy and blabbing all their secrets away! Our young bucks (and doe) will learn!

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Mr. Brewer's day job is with an investor owned utility. Could they have been seeking regulatory relief for PG&E?

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