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Johnson Visits TTM Technologies to Talk EPA Rules

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North Jackson, August 12, 2016 | comments
As part of his effort to better understand the impact of regulations at the micro level, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, met with employees at TTM Technologies Thursday afternoon.
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Youngstown Business Journal
By Josh Medore
Published August 12, 2016

As part of his effort to better understand the impact of regulations at the micro level, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, met with employees at TTM Technologies Thursday afternoon.

In a private meeting there, Johnson discussed the effect of environmental regulations on business development and employees. Among the rules discussed, he said, is the Toxic Substances Control Act, which earlier this year was amended to update how the Environmental Protection Agency evaluates the toxicity and degree of toxicity of various substances.

The House of Representatives voted for the amended EPA regulations 398-1 in June. Before that, Johnson said, the EPA severely restricted what companies could and could not recycle, thus hampering manufacturing and research-and-development efforts.

“We know how to manufacture, whether it’s microchips or steel,” the congressman stated. “This is the manufacturing belt of the country. And we’re good at it. The problem today is the downward pressure from D.C.”

While regulations aren’t always a bad idea, added John Mitchell, president and CEO of the electronics manufacturing association IPC, the rules should be written with the industries they affect in mind.

“[The Toxic Substances Control Act] was 40 years old in terms of how it was regulating materials. It was a disincentive to recycling, something the EPA should be in favor of,” Mitchell said. “There needs to be updates … and a review of what’s really benefiting this country and what’s just overhead, not helping anybody.”

Johnson also told employees that the animosity between the Republican and Democratic parties is exaggerated, Mitchell said, and offered highlights of what has happened behind the scenes that rarely makes the news.

TTM, whose headquarters are in Costa Mesa, Calif., is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of printed circuit boards, used in everything from aerospace to cell phones to the oil and gas industry.

As part of IPC, TTM hosts “executive fly-ins,” bringing officials and politicians into meetings and round tables so they can better understand the effect of their work, Mitchell said.

“The regulations need to be viewed from a level of, ‘Is this really an environmental crisis? Is it doing more good than harm?’ ” he said. “If so, then that’s great. But it might need to be updated.”

In addition to the town hall-style meeting, Johnson spent half an hour touring the plant.

“TTM is a company that’s on the leading edge of the technology that’s keeping America free,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of military applications and aircraft applications here, so it’s exciting to hear what they’re doing.”

Today, he asserted, regulations remove $2 trillion from the U.S. economy, and require “a permission slip to do business in America.

“Companies like TTM face those regulations and it restricts them from being able to innovate,” he said. “We can’t stay manufacturing the same materials all the time. We have to move as the world changes.”

In an interview with The Business Journal after the tour and meeting, Johnson stuck to his support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in light of his comments that supporters of the Second Amendment might be able to do something to stop Hillary Clinton should be become president.

“What Donald Trump was trying to say is that Hillary Clinton wants to take away our Second Amendment rights,” he said. “The people I represent don’t want that. They don’t want her stepping on the coal industry or our ability to go after our oil and gas reserves. … Does he say it like a politician? No, because he’s not a politician.”

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