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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — The owner of one of Lowndes County’s oldest employers takes his concerns about over regulation to the halls of Congress.

Columbus Brick’s Al Puckett told a House Judiciary Subcommittee today that a tactic used by environmental groups and others to force new regulations without input from the industries impacted could force him to lay off 50 workers and even shut down the 125-year-old, fifth-generation company.

Legislation pending in Congress would prevent the EPA and other agencies from engaging in so-called “sue and settle” rule making. In those cases, environmental groups threaten lawsuits over environmental issues, forcing the EPA to reach negotiated court settlements that don’t follow traditional rulemaking or transparency called for under the Clean Air Act and other regulations.

Puckett said his and other industries aren’t asking for a free ride but simply want the opportunity to be involved in the process so that everyone wins rather than putting unneeded rules on the backs of workers who will lose their jobs.

“What I’ve seen happening in the past several years makes me extremely concerned about my ability to keep our business viable for the future. We are not asking for the rule to go away. we are asking that the practice of establishing unreasonable deadlines without input from the impacted industries go away,” Puckett said during his testimony.

Columbus Brick has been impacted by two such national “sue and settle” cases started by environmental groups over emissions from brick kilns.

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