During a hearing of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) came down hard on the EPA for its back door approach toward implementing a cap and trade like regulatory tax.
"The reason cap and trade didn't pass is because it would have been detrimental to our economy and job creation, so for the administration to now try and usurp Congress by using the EPA is just unacceptable."
The EPA has been using the Clean Air Act to quietly impose carbon emission restrictions that are outside the authority of the Act, placing a bigger burden on local governments and consumers as they struggle to comply with the stricter regulations. Rep. Gardner, whose district is predominantly rural, is especially concerned with the impact EPA policies are having on farmers and ranchers.
The topic of this morning's hearing was the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which is designed to prevent the EPA from further using the Clean Air Act to carry out its regulatory tax agenda. The proposal clarifies the Clean Air Act without undermining or weakening the law. The EPA will still have the authority to monitor and regulate pollutants, but it will be prohibited from ever imposing a national energy tax.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was a witness before the committee and defended her agency's policies. At one point during the hearing, Jackson claimed the economy in rural America is strong enough to withstand burdensome regulations. Rep. Gardner fired back saying that it is actually rural communities who will be most impacted by cap and trade style regulations.
"Families in rural areas are facing challenges like everyone else, and I would know because I grew up in a town of only 3,200 people." Rep. Gardner said. "When something becomes more expensive, like the utility bill, it hurts those families most."
Rep. Gardner invited Jackson to visit his district and familiarize herself with the realities of rural America.