Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Additional Time for EPA to Fix Boiler Rules and Save Jobs
WASHINGTON, DC - Responding to urgent calls from job creators across a range of industries, bipartisan members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce have introduced H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011. The proposal, which directs EPA to develop achievable standards affecting non-utility boilers and incinerators and grants additional time for development of and compliance with the rules, was offered by Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), together with Reps. John Barrow (D-GA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Pete Olson (R-TX), Mike Ross (D-AR), and Steve Scalise (R-LA). Economic analyses have projected that compliance with the rules as currently proposed could cost in excess of $14 billion, which could put more than 200,000 jobs at risk.
The Members introducing the EPA Regulatory Relief Act issued the following statement:
"Our goal is simple. With the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, we are giving EPA the time it needs - the time it has requested - to address difficult technical issues and develop rules that are workable in the real world. Likewise, businesses, institutions, and facilities need adequate time to finance the new monitoring and control equipment that will be required to meet the new standards, to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, and to design, procure, install, test, train personnel, and start up equipment. Without regulatory relief, EPA's current rules endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide by forcing plant shutdowns and relocation of American manufacturing and jobs overseas. We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the Obama administration, to see this type of common-sense relief become law."
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) lent his support to the legislation, endorsing the members' bipartisan approach to protecting jobs and pursuing sensible regulations:
"All year long, the Energy and Commerce Committee has focused on creating jobs and spurring economic growth. The EPA Regulatory Relief Act is exactly the brand of regulatory common sense we promised. This bill gives EPA the time it needs to write rules that make sense, and it gives businesses, schools, and other affected facilities the time they need to put the rules into action. This bill is proof positive that Members can work together to protect jobs and guard against regulatory overreach."
Background on H.R. 2250
On March 21, 2011, EPA published four interrelated, highly complex, and data-intensive rules setting new standards for more than 200,000 boilers, process heaters, and incinerators. The rules apply across the entire U.S. economy and affect manufacturing and industrial facilities, commercial buildings and facilities, colleges and universities, hospitals and medical centers, hotels and apartment buildings, and city buildings and municipal facilities.
EPA published the proposed rules in June of 2010. In December 2010, after receiving more than 4,800 comments, EPA asked a federal court for an additional 15 months to re-propose the rules and solicit more public comment. However, the court denied the request and instructed EPA to issue the rules within 30 days. While EPA complied with the court's order, the same day EPA published the final rules it stated it would reconsider certain aspects of the rules because the public had not had sufficient time to comment. EPA has also issued a temporary administrative stay of the effective date of two of the rules.
EPA estimates compliance with its boiler and incinerator rules will impose $5.8 billion in up-front capital costs, and the four rules collectively will impose new costs of more than $2.2 billion annually. Affected industries project significantly higher costs, including capital costs in excess of $14 billion; the new rules are estimated by industry to potentially put tens of thousands of jobs at risk in sectors throughout the U.S. economy.
The EPA Regulatory Relief Act is designed to give EPA the time and parameters it needs to develop standards that will protect public health and the environment without undue threats to jobs and our economy. To protect jobs and allow time for development of achievable standards, H.R. 2250 would:
- Provide EPA with at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize new rules for boilers, process heaters, and incinerators;
- Extend compliance deadlines from 3 to at least 5 years to allow facilities adequate time to comply with the standards and install necessary equipment;
- Direct EPA, when developing the new rules, to adopt definitions that allow sources to use a wide range of alternative fuels; and
- Direct EPA to ensure that the new rules are achievable by real-world boilers, process heaters, and incinerators and impose the least burdensome regulatory alternatives consistent with the President's Executive Order 13563.