Subcommittee Discusses Legislation to Protect American Jobs from Costly & Unachievable Regulations

September 8, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), held a hearing today to discuss legislation to save jobs and protect American businesses from burdensome new regulations issued by President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.

H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, and H.R. 2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, will provide regulatory relief from costly new regulations that threaten hundreds of thousands of American jobs and may force plant and facility shutdowns across the nation. The committee's bipartisan legislative proposals aim to ensure EPA's Boiler MACT and Cement MACT rules are both economically and technically achievable.

EPA's own estimates show these rules, in their current form, will impose billions of dollars in costs and put jobs at risk. Both the bills considered today will allow EPA additional time to develop effective yet achievable rules that will protect public health and the environment without imposing unnecessary economic harm on American businesses and workers. 

Chairman Whitfield refuted EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy's claim that the bills attacked the Clean Air Act, asserting that, "Both the cement and the boiler bills allow - and in fact require - that new emissions controls be implemented.  But they replace unrealistic targets and timetables with achievable ones."

The panel heard from a number of witnesses who testified to the economic and technical challenges of implementing the current rules as written. Witnesses also expressed concern with the regulatory uncertainty created by EPA's rules and their chilling effect on much needed investment and job creation.

James Rubright, CEO of a leading packaging manufacturer, Rock-Tenn Company, expressed, "Companies frequently find themselves tangled in a web of rules that result in the decision to simply not make an investment because of the uncertainty of the regulatory process - or they decide to invest overseas.  Others roll the dice, hoping that the rule they are making decisions under today will still be in place when their project is completed. When regulations such as the Boiler MACT rules create such uncertainty and are not affordable or achievable, investing in an energy efficiency project, modernization programs, or a new biomass boiler can be very risky, preventing investment and job creation in rural communities that desperately need it."

Daniel Harrington, President and CEO of Lehigh Hanson Inc., a large cement manufacturer, gave a compelling rebuttal to Assistant Administrator McCarthy's testimony, arguing that the technical solutions needed to achieve the MACT standards are not currently available and that the rules would absolutely result in job losses.

Click Here to watch Harrington's remarks.

Members and witnesses agreed EPA's Cement MACT and Boiler MACT rules are in urgent need of a legislative fix to prevent more job loss and stop the moratorium on economic growth.

To view the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011," click HERE. For background information on the legislation, click HERE.

To view the "Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011," click HERE. For background information on the legislation, click HERE.