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Hearing of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - "Review of the FY 2012 Budget and Priorities of the Environmental Protection Agency"

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

"I have a number of concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing activities and plans in Fiscal Year 2012. These are issues that I want the Subcommittee to explore during this Congress and hold hearings when I think it would be helpful to Members.

"First and foremost, I am concerned about the proliferation of so-called "guidance' coming out of EPA in an attempt to short-circuit the process for changing Agency policy without following a proper, transparent rulemaking process. Much of this so-called "guidance' amounts to being de facto rules instead of advisory guidelines.

"In addition, I note the exponential increase in regulations coming out of EPA in recent months or planned for the near future related to this subcommittee's jurisdiction. Many of these regulatory efforts are based on questionable science at best and stand to substantially increase the regulatory burdens for states, local governments, and businesses, especially small businesses. EPA is making a mockery of the Administration's Regulatory Review Initiative to reduce regulatory burdens in our country.

"These "guidance' and rulemaking efforts of concern include, but are not limited to:

* "Guidance' to expand the scope of jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act,
* "Guidance' on permitting of surface coal mining,
* EPA's recent permit veto of an existing permit for an on-going mining operation,
* Expanded regulation of stormwater, including post-construction site runoff, new development and redevelopment, and existing development through retrofitting,
* Numerical water quality standards for the state of Florida,
* Numerical water quality standards for the entire Mississippi River Basin,
* Cooling water intake structures.

"I am concerned that more regulations means more unfunded mandates to burden our cities and towns at a time when they need relief from those types of injustices.

"I am concerned that EPA seems to have a fondness for "guidance' as opposed to "regulations,' and thus has found a backdoor way to get de facto rules in place without the transparency that is built into the formal rulemaking process of the Administrative Procedure Act.

"I am concerned that the EPA has usurped state authority by effectively taking over the implementation plans for the Chesapeake Bay states and has expressed its intention to do the same elsewhere.

"I am concerned that the requirement for numerical standards for the state of Florida is just the beginning and the other states will soon have costly job-killing requirements placed on them as well.

"I am concerned that, while the President is imposing more regulatory burdens on communities, businesses, and citizens, at the same time he is calling for a reduction in spending for many of the programs that assist communities in their efforts to come into compliance with the regulations. While the President is willing to increase enforcement spending, he is cutting spending for compliance assistance efforts.

"So what we have here is a federal agency that will add to the burden of rules and regulations, reduce programs to help folks come into compliance, but will also put more boots on the ground to track down those who cannot come into compliance, with little or no benefit to the environment.

"This is government at its worst; an agency cutting facilitators but increasing regulators.

"I want clean water as much as anyone, but I recognize that we have to have a strong economy so we can afford to invest in new programs that new regulations require.

"Today is not the day to put more burdens on the American people. We need to make significant progress in creating long-term jobs and a stronger economy before we can tolerate more expensive regulations."


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