When we finally release the NAM’s 2006 cost study, The Escalating Cost Crisis, in audio format, Steven Rogel of Weyerhaeuser just has to do the narration.
In an interview in today’s Examiner , the president and CEO of the forest products company discusses the burdens on American business that make it difficult to compete globally: Tort costs, energy, regulations, the externally imposed factors that add 31.7 percent to the cost of doing business in the United States compared to our nine major trading partners. For example, on the question of regulatory excess:
It’s a huge burden. In many cases, U.S. companies are hindered by regulatory burdens that many foreign companies do not have. Regulatory processes must be streamlined to remain effective but not burdensome. Oversight of administrative agencies must be more rigorous to maintain a balance of appropriate regulations while maintaining a healthy business climate.
We are working hard to reduce our energy use, and having some success. In our sector, more energy will only be required if there is facility growth.
Government must provide incentives to business to employ energy saving technology to allow us to modernize our equipment earlier in its life cycle. New energy sources, such as biomass, hold promise as a renewable, greenhouse gas-neutral technology, especially when the carbon sequestration effect of large-scale tree planting is factored in.
We must also be willing to consider nuclear power, fully developing our existing fossil fuel resources and exploring alternatives to fossil fuels.
The Examiner is writing a multipart series on the American economy, interviewing top business executives and economists. The Rogel interview promises much of interest ahead.
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