A bipartisan group of Senators is pressuring the Obama administration to release a study that they say predicts significant job loss from a proposed EPA regulation that would restrict air pollution from boilers used to heat and power a wide variety of U.S. buildings, from factories to schools.
Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, and David Vitter, R-La., sent a letter to the Commerce Department and EPA asking for release of all studies conducted on the environmental proposal.
The senators claim that EPA officials have refused to release a Commerce Department analysis that, they say, shows the boiler rule would cause significant economic harm. EPA is under a court order to complete work on the regulation by Jan. 14; the proposed controls were released in April.
Environmental regulators have acknowledged that the proposal issued in April, which would require boiler owners to install tough new pollution control equipment, was excessively strict. But they have continued to keep the Commerce Department report under wraps.
I see no reason why Secretary Locke should not make this report available to Congress so that we can fully understand the economic impact of this proposed rule, Pryor said in a statement announcing the letter. I have heard from several Arkansas companies that the regulation cannot be met at a reasonable cost.
Under Administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA has given the appearance of becoming increasingly dismissive of the constitutional authority of the legislative branch of government. Jackson has developed a pattern of simply enacting sweeping changes to entire industries, despite the threat which such changes pose to the entire economy.
However, the EPA may soon find that legislators are less inclined to allow the agency to run rampant; many Democratic Senators who are facing the voters in 2012 and who witnessed the decisive action of the American people at the ballot box this past November are discovering the necessity of taking action to restrain the agencies running rogue under President Obama.
An article at EnvironmentalNewsstand.com (Inhofe Sees Endangered Democrats Helping to Block Rush of EPA Rules) details the "foxhole conversion" of nearly a dozen Democrat Senators from the perspective of a Republican Senator, James Inhofe:
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member on the Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW), says at least 11 endangered Democrats up for re-election in 2012 could try to bolster their reelection bids by voting with Republicans in the 112th Congress to help resist a rush of Obama EPA rules expected in the next two years....
Some unnamed Democrats on the environment committee if they choose to stay on the panel in the 112th Congress are the ones that are going to be in tight races in 2012. They might become a lot more cooperative on having hearings that would rein [in] the bureaucracy on some of the work EPA is doing, Inhofe said.
However, Inhofe said he is a little more worried that the Obama administration and some liberal Democrats in the Senate might try to rush through a slew of strict EPA regulations in the next two years ahead of the 2012 presidential election. The handwritings on the wall and there's going to be a level of desperation among the more liberal members of the Senate and the Obama administration to get things done, the senator said. I know people don't like to talk about it, but Republicans will take over the Senate [beginning in 2013], and I hope the White House too, and they will say, This is it, this is our last shot. So with that level of desperation theyll try to hurry things out.
By way of example, Inhofe cited EPA's proposed tightening of the ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). The Bush EPA tightened the standard in 2008, but the Obama EPA reviewed it and in 2009 proposed a stricter limit. The agency has vowed to issue the final standard by Dec. 31, but Inhofe noted that we haven't even met the last one yet and they're supposed to wait five years, referring to a Clean Air Act requirement that EPA need only review its NAAQS ever five years. The Obama EPA ozone review is 100 percent political, Inhofe said.
From the UN Climate Conferences at Copenhagen and Cancun to the infamous carbon dioxide regulation undertaken by the EPA, the Obama administration has shown a willful disregard for the profoundly troubled American economy virtually every time one of the concerns of the environmental extremists has been at stake. The question is whether even more Democrat Senators are prepared to end their careers trying to enact the agenda of a failed presidency, or whether they will rein in an executive branch which has continuously undermined their constitutional responsibilities. If the Commerce Department and the EPA will not disclose the threat which EPA regulations pose to the financial well-being of the Republic, it may fall to the House and Senate to demonstrate the power of the purse over the agencies' actions. Better still, they could act to rein in the regulatory activities of the federal government to those which are (a) in keeping with the enumerated powers specified in the Constitution and (b) those which, in keeping the Constitution, have been authorized under law.