EPA and the Election
Jane Van Ryan
Posted November 4, 2010
Pundits and reporters today are speculating on the election results' impact on proposed environmental regulations, including the future of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Starting Jan. 2, new regulations on GHG emissions from stationary sources go into effect, eventually requiring as many as 6.1 million industrial facilities, power plants, hospitals, big box stores and farms, among other establishments, to get permits to operate or expand. It's believed the regulations could delay construction projects, destroy jobs and hamper economic expansion.
The battle over the proposed regulations already is being fought in court, where business groups are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to stay the regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources. And now major newspapers are wondering whether the GHG regulations could trigger a confrontation between Congress and the administration during the lame-duck session. If Congress approves a measure to delay the regulations' implementation, it could be vetoed by the president.
A bill to delay implementation for two years already has been introduced, and a group of 21 trade associations, including API, is encouraging the Senate to add an amendment to a Continuing Resolution or omnibus spending bill delaying the regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources. In a letter, the associations say the proposed regulations would harm the economy and intrude on Congress's role of developing policy.
"While keeping the government running is critical," the letter states, "lawmakers also need to make sure government funds are used in ways that advance economic recovery and environmental improvement. In that context, there is an urgent need to delay EPA's implementation of the stationary source rules."
The GHG regulations are not the only new environmental regulations proposed by the EPA. In fact, the agency has proposed 42 significant regulations, with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, during the administration's first 18 months.
One of the most damaging to the economy is the new ozone standard which, according to a recent study, could destroy as many as 7.3 million U.S. jobs. Interestingly, EPA announced on Tuesday - Election Day - that it would postpone the release of the new ozone standard until the end of the year.
"We hope that this extension signals that the EPA is being more deliberative in finalizing this rule because they realize that the proposed new ozone standard would put nearly 100 percent of the United States in non-attainment and subject every state to erroneous and costly requirements," API's Howard Feldman told Dow Jones.
Recently we held a conference call about the EPA proposed regulations and their impact on the economy. A transcript and audio file can be found on EnergyTomorrow.org.