EPA Regulations Ensnare Small Businesses in a Web of Red Tape

July 26, 2012

Under President Obama, the issuance of economically significant regulations – those regulations that cost the economy at least $100 million annually – has increased significantly. In fact, according to OMB data, President Obama has issued, on average, 35 percent more economically significant regulations than the prior administration. These regulations are more costly too, imposing an estimated $5.7 to $11.3 billion per year on our economy, up to twice the cost of regulation in previous years. This excessive regulation is creating uncertainty for the nation’s small businesses.

One of the largest red tape factories in President Obama’s administration is the Environmental Protection Agency. This is the agency that gave us regulations like the Utility MACT rule, estimated by the agency to impose new compliance costs of $9.6 billion annually, and the Boiler MACT rules, which EPA estimates will cost over $5 billion. The agency’s greenhouse gas regulations were estimated to threaten as many as 1.4 million jobs by 2014. 

To limit the expansion of the web of regulatory red tape, the House today passed H.R. 4078, the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act. This legislative package is comprised of a number of legislative solutions designed to reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses to make it easier for them to create jobs. The bill includes a freeze on economically significant regulations until unemployment is at or below 6 percent.

In addition to today’s vote, the House has passed a number of bills to offer job-creators relief from the administration’s taxing regulations. Below is a sample of legislative solutions advanced by the Energy and Commerce Committee to cut through the Obama EPA’s job-destroying red tape. 

Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910)

The Energy Tax Prevention Act will protect hundreds of thousands of jobs currently threatened by the Obama administration’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. economy.

Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act (H.R. 2401)

The TRAIN Act would protect jobs at risk from EPA’s new power sector rules, namely the Utility MACT rule and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. NERA Economic Consulting estimates the cumulative cost of EPA’s power rules will result in net job losses of 183,000 annually, with net employment losses totaling 1.65 million job-years by 2020.

Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2681)

The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act would avoid domestic plant closures and avert the loss of a projected 20,000 jobs from EPA’s unworkable cement MACT rules. Instead, the agency would be required to move forward with rules, and a timeline for their implementation, that are more achievable. 

EPA Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2250)

The EPA Regulatory Relief Act would protect more than 230,000 jobs estimated to be at risk from EPA’s Boiler MACT rules. Instead, the agency would be required to move forward with rules, and a timeline for their implementation, that are more achievable.

Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273)
The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act provides for the safe management and disposal of coal ash in a way that preserves jobs and encourages recycling. The bill provides a practical alternative to EPA’s misguided plan, which is estimated to cost over 300,000 jobs.

Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act (H.R. 1633)

The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act removes the regulatory uncertainty surrounding EPA’s current and future regulation of rural dust. The bill will prevent EPA from changing its standard for coarse particulate matter for one year and will exempt “nuisance dust” from federal regulation where such dust is already regulated under state, tribal, or local law.

The Gasoline Regulations Act (H.R. 4471)

The Gasoline Regulations Act, which passed the House as part of the broader Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, addresses the costly consequences of pending EPA regulations affecting transportation fuel prices. The legislation requires an interagency committee to study how certain EPA regulations will affect American businesses and consumers and puts a pause on three of EPA’s rules affecting fuel prices until the study is complete.