Energy and Commerce Continues Standing Up to EPA's Costly Regulatory Regime

April 8, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce this week continued working to protect American families and job creators from the Environmental Protection Agency's reckless regulatory agenda. On Thursday, the House voted on the committee's legislation to stop the EPA's controversial greenhouse gas rules, which would increase costs for consumers and make America less competitive. Also this week, the Energy and Power Subcommittee, convened a hearing to discuss bipartisan draft legislation that would provide American businesses and regulators with a greater understanding of the global competitive and economic impacts of the EPA's current and proposed rules.

The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act (or TRAIN Act) would require an interagency committee to conduct an in-depth economic analysis on the cumulative impacts of EPA's regulations on global competiveness, energy prices, jobs, small businesses and consumers.

"Unfortunately, in the United States, the use of coal and other cheaper fuel sources are being threatened by the Environmental Protection Agency who have issued a number of rules that require a large investment from the energy and manufacturing sectors, without fully understanding the economic impact and the potential benefits of their rules," said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). "Because of the uncertainty that the EPA is causing with these regulations many of which were issued as a result of court cases, I am pleased that my colleagues on the subcommittee, Representatives Sullivan and Matheson, have drafted the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act which would require a cumulative analysis of certain rules and actions that are either issued or planned by the Environmental Protection Agency."

Witnesses testified on the paralyzing effect EPA's proposed regulations can have on organizations and stressed the need for greater coordination and transparency in the rulemaking process.

Robin Ridgway, Director of Environmental Health and Safety Regulatory Compliance at Purdue University, explained how uncertainties stemming from EPA's rules can delay critical decisions for organizations. "As uncertainty increases, the impact spectrum broadens. The projected impact of layered regulations then becomes a driving factor in decision making, potentially causing the administration to delay a decision until there is more certainty," said Ridgway. "The planning challenges associated with a rapidly changing regulatory landscape are not unique to universities.  However, universities cannot relocate or consolidate operations like a for-profit manufacturer might able to, nor are we able to pass the cost along to a customer.  Our students are our customers, so the added cost of compliance or additional purchased facilities falls back on taxpayers."

Timothy Hess, testifying on behalf of the American Forest and Paper Association, believes that the greatest cost of EPA's regulatory train wreck could be the loss of revenue and jobs from projects never realized. "When regulations such as Boiler MACT and NAAQS create great uncertainty and are not affordable or achievable, investing in an energy efficiency project, mill modernization programs, or a new biomass boiler can be very risky, preventing job creation in rural communities that desperately need it," said Hess. "Unfortunately, it is easier to see the jobs that are lost after the fact. But the greatest damage may be unknowable - the loss of projects that are never built, the products never made, the jobs never created, or the entrepreneurial ideas that drown in a sea of red tape." 

The TRAIN Act's cumulative economic analysis will provide policymakers and American job-creators with much needed clarity, creating a better understanding of how the EPA's regulations affect our economic competitiveness and hopefully setting the stage for a legislative and regulatory approach that promotes growth and expansion. For more information on the hearing, please click HERE; for text of the discussion draft of the TRAIN Act, please click HERE.

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