WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama Environmental Protection Agency hit yet another legal snag yesterday when the D.C. District Court issued an order vacating EPA’s current stay of two of its Boiler MACT rules. EPA put the rules on hold after a tumultuous rule-making process that included an extended comment period and a voluntary reconsideration because the agency had not adequately addressed stakeholders’ valid concerns. The judge ruled the method with which EPA issued the stay was arbitrary and capricious, finding EPA had not followed all the necessary legal steps to put its rules on hold. This ruling increases uncertainty and confusion in the marketplace, and further underscores the need for a legislative fix.
By vacating EPA’s stay, yesterday’s ruling speeds the rules’ compliance schedules, which were already unworkable. As a result of the ruling, facilities will be forced to determine how to implement the rules even though they are still being reconsidered. Last March, EPA acknowledged that its original rules were flawed and launched a reconsideration process it has not yet completed. The court’s ruling demonstrates that legislation is necessary to ensure EPA has adequate time to re-propose its rules and facilities have adequate time to comply.
“The ruling increases the already significant regulatory and legal uncertainty surrounding these complex rules, which by EPA’s own estimates impose new costs in excess of $5 billion. It is increasingly clear that Congress must intervene to provide regulatory relief. The House-passed EPA Regulatory Relief Act provides EPA the framework to fix these rules and offers American businesses the flexibility and certainty they need to invest and create jobs. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation so we can put an end to the uncertainty and finally get the EPA to move forward in a way that protects jobs,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
In a committee hearing last year, Chairman Upton questioned EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the need for legislative action to give the agency more time for issuance of these rules. At that time, Administrator Jackson insisted the agency could handle the situation administratively and without legislation. Watch that exchange here:
To watch the video, click here.