Committee Approves Bipartisan Bills to Protect Economy & Environment with More Reasonable Approach to Regulations

September 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today approved bipartisan legislation to protect jobs and enhance the security of nation's pipeline infrastructure.

H.R. 2937, the Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act, passed the committee with unanimous support by a vote of 51-0. The legislation makes much-needed improvements to pipeline safety laws to ensure public safety and protection of the environment as vital energy resources are transported across the nation. The bill passed with an amendment from the bill's the authors, Chairman Upton and Chairman Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI), which made a number of important changes to the underlying text, inserting added safety benefits and clarifying federal oversight requirements.

"I believe that we have come up with a practical path forward for improved pipeline safety," said Upton. "This bill hits close to home for us and for other members who have seen pipeline safety failures in their communities. We can hold those responsible accountable in case a spill ever occurs, but more important than that, we are taking steps to prevent pipelines from being compromised so spills do not occur."

H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, was approved by a bipartisan vote of 36 to 14. Introduced by Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), this bill protects over 200,000 jobs that EPA's boiler rule puts at risk. The bill provides regulatory relief to industries and organizations by directing EPA to reissue rules are achievable in practice and less burdensome, consistent with President Obama's Executive Order on Improving Regulations.

"The EPA Regulatory Relief Act is a compromise. This bill brought together a group of legislators from both sides of the aisle with a reasonable approach and reasonable language. Businesses need certainty regarding regulation. They need to know that the EPA is going to get the rules right when imposing such expensive and comprehensive rules that could have real consequences for thousands of hardworking Americans," said Griffith. "Investments required by these rules are irreversible. For those businesses that cannot make those investments, and decide to stop producing their product at a particular location, the job losses are irreversible."

H.R. 2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, passed the full committee with a bipartisan vote of 33 to 12.  Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Mike Ross (D-AR) introduced the bill to require EPA to set new emissions limits on cement manufacturing plants that are reasonable and achievable in the real world. As currently written, EPA's cement rule threatens to shut down 20 percent of the nation's cement manufacturing plants in the next two years, sending thousands of jobs permanently overseas and driving up cement and construction costs across the country.

"This is a jobs bill that protects American workers. The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act would save nearly 20,000 U.S. cement and construction jobs by laying out a path for common sense regulation without eviscerating one-fifth of the U.S. cement sector," said Sullivan. "Now more than ever, our focus must be on putting American back to work and growing our economy -I applaud my colleagues for passing this common sense legislation which ensures effective regulations that protect communities both environmentally and economically."

"For decades, the federal government has imposed reasonable regulations that strike the right balance of protecting health, safety, and the environment while avoiding unnecessary damage to the economy. These three bills put us back on that track and I welcome support for them," said Upton.