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The Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582)

Apr 17, 2013
Legislation Protects Consumers by Requiring Greater Inter-Agency Review for Energy-Related Regulations Costing over $1 Billion

The Energy Consumers Relief Act will help protect Americans from new billion-dollar Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that may increase energy prices and destroy jobs. The bill would ensure that there is greater transparency, interagency review, and oversight of EPA’s most expensive energy rules. Specifically, the legislation will:

  • Provide that before the EPA finalizes an energy-related rule costing more than $1 billion, the agency must submit a report to Congress detailing certain cost, benefit, energy price, and job impacts.
  • Prohibit EPA from finalizing a rule if the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with other relevant agencies, determines the rule would cause significant adverse effects to the economy.

EPA’s list of billion-dollar rules is long and still growing. Over the past four and a half years, EPA has proposed or finalized a number of major new rules imposing billions of dollars in compliance costs, and EPA currently has more regulatory actions under review by OMB than any other agency. Examples of EPA’s most expensive energy-related rules affecting energy prices or jobs include:

  • EPA’s Utility MACT rule is estimated by the agency to cost up to $9.6 billion annually continuing over decades. Independent analysts estimate that this rule is the most expensive regulation the EPA has ever issued for power plants, and an independent analysis suggests more than $80 billion in new capital will be required by 2015. Total compliance costs could total over a hundred billion dollars.
  • EPA’s revised Boiler MACT rule is estimated by EPA to impose new costs of $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion annually. IHS Global Insight estimates that every $1 billion spent in complying with these regulations will put 16,000 jobs at risk and reduce U.S. GDP by as much as $1.2 billion.
  • EPA’s proposed Tier 3 rule is estimated by EPA to cost $2 billion annually beginning in 2017, rising to $3.4 billion annually once fully implemented in 2030. Industry estimates suggest the new regulation could add up to 9 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

In addition to the rules already dispensed by EPA, the agency is expected to finalize additional, large-scale regulations in the president’s second term that could lead to higher energy prices and job losses. Outlining his climate change plan, President Obama recently announced EPA would move forward with expensive new greenhouse gas standards for new and existing power plants, greatly expanding the administration’s "war on coal":

  • The president’s plan for new power plant emissions standards is just the latest attack in the administration’s war on jobs and affordable energy. These new regulations come in addition to a suite of other EPA power plant rules that are estimated to have already contributed to the announced shutdown of 288 power plant units across 32 states.
  • EPA’s overreaching power plant and other standards are expected to be so expensive and so unworkable they could effectively shut down the American coal industry. Taking this affordable and reliable energy source out of America’s energy mix would threaten electric reliability, raise energy costs, and handicap our manufacturing and other vital sectors of our economy.

Affordable and reliable energy is critical for a growing economy and a healthy America. H.R. 1582 provides a commonsense "look before you leap" approach to regulation to help prevent billion-dollar EPA rules that could eliminate yet more American jobs and increase energy prices on American households and businesses. With more EPA billion-dollar energy-related rules on the horizon, it is imperative that we understand the impacts of these rules on jobs and the economy before they are implemented.