Monday, January 31, 2011

Gov. Haslam: Who Do You Work For?

Pilot Oil or the people of Tennessee?

It’s a fair question in light of his decision to keep his Pilot Oil holdings out of the blind trust and now, THIS:
NASHVILLE -- Gov. Bill Haslam says he didn't know his freeze on new state regulations delayed a proposed environmental rule affecting his family's convenience stores and truck stops.

The would-be rule directs businesses and local governments to replace single-walled underground fuel storage tanks installed before July 2007 with double-walled tanks if they are used to dispense fuel blends with more than 10 percent ethanol.

Haslam announced the 45-day freeze on new regulations four days after taking office Jan. 15, part of his promised "top to bottom review" of state government. The freeze affects dozens of proposed rules.

I find it really hard to believe that Haslam didn’t know about a new state environmental rule requiring new fuel storage tanks at his Flying J Truck Stops. That just defies belief -- just as I’m sure he knows about a gazillion other new rules or proposed rules that could affect the bottom line at the family business.


Haslam said in the interview he didn't think the rule affected Pilot a great deal because the company already has been double-walling its tanks. But the governor stressed he wasn't entirely certain that was the case.

On Friday, TDEC provided figures showing that at Pilot Flying J, 80 tanks are double-walled while 62 are single-walled.

At Pilot's convenience stores, 63 tanks are double-walled while 87 are single-walled, according to TDEC.

Nothing to see here, move along ....

This is why I’ve never understood the argument that having someone from the business community in elected office is better than, say, having a lawyer or scientist or community organizer. I happen to think clean groundwater is pretty freaking awesome, maybe even more awesome than the Haslam family fortune. Call me crazy, that’s just how I roll. That's why government makes regulations, after all -- even regulations that are unpopular with people who own truck stops and convenience stores. Because Tennessee's water resources belong to us all, and polluted ground water affects us all.

Anyway. I’m sure this is just the first of many future decisions our newly-minted governor will be making that benefit the family business at the expense of Tennesseeans.

Nobody could have anticipated ...