Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Friday, October 15, 2010

House GOP Probes Cost of EPA Air Rules--Inside EPA

This is similar to the current fight over the proposed EPA changes of coal mining policies and it is a parallel battleground issue between Democrats and the big business Republicans--Democrats support stricter oversight by the EPA while the Republicans favor greater congressional oversight, preferably when they are in charge.
Environmentalists and congressional Democrats are expanding their efforts to support the agency’s crackdown on water pollution from Appalachian coal mines from growing election-year attacks by industry and state officials in some of the states most affected by the agency’s policies.
If we have learned nothing else from past administrations we have seen what happens to regulations and rules when the Republicans are in charge--they are weakened and gutted in favor of the industry giants. The Republicans prefer to let the industry "regulate itself" rather than follow the rules of the CAA and CWA.
The EPA is viewed as an antagonistic, bloated agency with too much power who cannot possibly know what is best for big business. They're labeled "anti-economic development and the job killers of the nation" because following the rules means the obscenely wealthy energy giants will have to spend some of that immense wealth coming into compliance with federal laws and in turn, won't be able to hire as many workers.

What these big polluters won't tell you is that advancements in the processes they use to extract their materials rely more and more on technology than they do human labor resulting in less manual labor jobs being available. They also won't tell you that the fat cats at the top and shareholders are a big reason these companies don't want to see even the slightest percentage drop of their bottom lines.

It really has nothing to do with the worker, the average American, you know the one that is so prominent in PR campaigns by these companies as being their major concern and the "unfortunate victim" who is the one who is the most harmed by increased environmental regulations. Next in line would be the American consumer that is struggling hard in the current unsteady economic climate to simply "get by" and increased regulations and compliance "would only burden them even more" according to big business and the Republicans.

It's all one big fat belching lie served up by the industry to maintain their status quo of being monetarily overfed and bloated to ridiculous proportions. We have rules and regulations in place for a reason--the environment is important, clean water is essential and clean air is a right that we all should have and none of those basic elements of a healthy community should be for sale. But they certainly are every election cycle as evidenced by the enormous campaign contributions from the energy industry that pour into the Republicans coffers.
HuffPost found Koch Industries was a top contributor for Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Murray Energy was a top contributor for Carly Fiorina (R-Calif.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Every one of these Republican candidates for Senate has questioned climate science. (Click on their names for an example.)
Neither company funded a single Democratic candidate for Senate.
In Alaska, the state most coveted by the oil and natural gas industry, Exxon Mobil donated some money to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller and more to write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, who suffered an unexpected defeat to Miller in the Republican primary election.
That mirrors the strategy Exxon Mobil used in the 2008 presidential election when it contributed to both Barack Obama and John McCain. Though McCain would presumably better protect company interests, by donating to both candidates Exxon might hope to curry favor with whoever ultimately won power.
EPA head Lisa Jackson is "sticking to her guns" firing back at them with some hard truth:
“It’s definitely anti-lobbyist rhetoric,” Jackson said. “It’s definitely meant to reflect the fact that, when I go around the country, people want clean air. They are as passionate about clean air and clean water as any of a number of issues; they want protection for their families and their children.”
“I meet with individual businesses all the time, and industry has a huge role to play,” Jackson added. “But I do very much believe that it’s time for us to get past this tired dance, where folks inside this Beltway get paid a lot of money to say things that aren’t true about public health initiatives that this agency is charged by law with undertaking.”
The Republicans have demonstrated their animus of the environment time after time and if we don't pay attention and continue to re-elect the "darlings of big business" we'll lose some of the long overdue (although still falling terribly short) positive forward movement of the EPA to crack down on these big polluters and make them follow the rules that will truly benefit us all.

Published October 14, 2010
Key House Republicans are urging EPA to detail the compliance costs of dozens of pending and recently issued clean air and greenhouse gas (GHG) rules predicted to cost industry billions of dollars, in a possible signal of the EPA regulatory oversight that the GOP is vowing to pursue if it takes over the House or Senate after the midterm elections.

Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Michael Burgess (R-TX), key GOP members of the Energy & Commerce Committee, sent an Oct. 14 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson raising concerns about the “cumulative impacts” of the regulations and asking her to verify the accuracy of agency cost estimates for 40 known Clean Air Act rules, as well as additional measures that may be in the works.

“We are concerned about the highly accelerated pace at which EPA is issuing complex and expensive regulatory proposals” under the air act, the lawmakers wrote.

Many of the rules identified by the lawmakers are predicted to exceed the $100 million cost threshold that the government uses to describe a regulation as “economically significant,” a threshold that House Republicans have also set for rules that they plan to require Congress to approve before the rules can be implemented.
“If a regulation is so 'significant' and costly that it may harm job creation, Congress should vote on it first,” House GOP lawmakers said in their recently unveiled campaign manifesto, “Pledge To America.”

Barton and Burgess also sent Jackson a chart of 40 proposed or finalized air rules and more than a dozen other rules in the pre-proposal stages. EPA estimates at least eight rules will have costs over $1 billion, including $52 billion costs from its final first-time vehicle GHG rules for light-duty vehicles.

Other rules that the lawmakers highlight include $19 billion to $90 billion annual costs from EPA's proposed tightening of its ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS); $9.5 billion in capital expenditures and $2.9 billion in annual costs from its proposed boiler air toxics rule; $3.6 billion by 2020 for its revised nitrogen dioxide NAAQS; and $2.5 billion in capital costs and $1 billion in annual costs from its proposed Clean Air Transport Rule to establish a cap-and-trade program to cut nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants in 31 Eastern states and the District of Columbia.

Barton, the ranking GOP member of the energy committee, and Burgess, the ranking member of the committee's oversight panel, ask Jackson to verify whether the compliance costs in the chart are accurate. They also ask whether there are additional air rules not included in the chart that will impose annual compliance costs of $100 million or more, and also to identify any other air rules that EPA is considering.

GOP Eyes EPA Oversight
The GOP lawmakers' focus on the economic costs of the agency's air rules is the latest signal of the type of agency oversight that Republicans could pursue if they win majorities in the House or Senate following the November elections. Barton and Burgess have already asked House Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) to hold an oversight hearing to investigate what they claim is the Obama administration's “failure to evaluate job impacts in connection with its significant regulatory initiatives” from EPA and other agencies.

But EPA has rejected past requests by Barton and others to analyze the jobs impacts of its rules. For example, Barton and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) asked whether the agency is complying with section 321 of the Clean Air Act, which requires the administrator to “conduct continuing evaluations of potential loss or shifts of employment which may result from” EPA rules. Barton and Walden asked EPA to conduct a section 321 analysis of several GHG rules.

EPA air chief Regina McCarthy in response said the provision does not apply broadly to all rules. She said section 321 is designed to address “situations where employers make allegations that environmental regulations will jeopardize employment possibly in order to stimulate union or other public opposition to environmental regulations. The provision was intended to create a mechanism to investigate and resolve those allegations.” EPA says the provision does not apply broadly to all rules under the air act.

Even though EPA defends itself against having to analyze the jobs impacts of rulemakings under section 321, Republicans are vowing oversight -- and votes -- focusing on the economic impacts of EPA regulations.

In the Senate, GOP lawmakers are planning additional oversight and hope that EPA will be less able to delay responding to Republican questions about rules in a more closely divided chamber.

But there is less enthusiasm among senators for a sweeping effort among House lawmakers to dramatically limit agencies’ abilities to write new rules that House Republicans are advocating. The House GOP's “Pledge To America” campaign agenda proposes requiring that Congress approve major rules that cost more than $100 million to implement -- which would capture several of the air rules in the recent Barton and Burgess chart.

The House Republicans' approach could pose a major problem for EPA as several of its pending rules are expected to cost more than $100 million. EPA currently has one economically significant rule under review at the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB), to set GHG standards for heavy duty vehicles.

Scope Of EPA's Authority
In addition to cost concerns, Republicans are also weighing oversight into the reach of EPA's regulatory authority. GOP sources on key House committees with jurisdiction over core EPA programs say that although the election is still weeks away, staff are beginning to sketch out their legislative agenda for the possibility that Republicans could be the majority on committees in either chamber during the 112th Congress.

Oversight hearings could give the GOP a prominent venue to argue that EPA is exceeding its authority through rules including pending stormwater runoff controls and efforts to limit mountaintop mining. “The view of some people is that EPA is pushing . . . their jurisdictional authority to do some of this stuff,” a GOP source says.

Meanwhile, House Oversight & Government Reform panel ranking member Darrell Issa (R-CA) is suggesting Congress should take steps to bolster the independence of agency inspector generals (IGs), and recently met with EPA’s IG -- a role Republicans see as a “critical ally” in oversight efforts. -- Anthony Lacey
Bookmark and Share


  1. Big business, Big republicans = No difference.

  2. The repubs idea of a green community usually has 19 holes on it or pictures of dead presidents stuffing their wallets.

  3. Bush's EPA did such a stellar job in the Monsanto issue that only a fool would allow the reds to get the power of appointing and directing the EPA again. But, there's plenty of fools to go around when it comes to voting.

  4. The map is just hilarious the situation however is not, the really sad part is that his "reign" is over but what really changed on a global scale after the last election?

    Nothing. And this is why when it comes to politics I like to see things like a dog, everything in different nuances of grey, because there is no red and blue, there is no powerful contrast between them, at the end of the day is just grey.


IP tracking & BS detector is enabled.
Don't set it off.