U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry voted this week in support of two bills to block overly-aggressive regulations written by the Environmental Protection Agency. Both passed with bipartisan support in the House.
"Like the other bills we've passed reining in excessive regulations, these bills are about jobs. The boiler rules were so costly and so burdensome that the EPA actually sought to delay them because the effect on jobs could be significant," said Rep. Thornberry. "At a time when Washington should be doing everything it can to encourage job creation, these regulations could have the exact opposite effect and that is why Members on both sides are blocking them," he continued.
The "EPA Regulatory Relief Act" (H.R.2250), which passed by a vote of 275 to 142 on Thursday, extends compliance time for commercial and industrial boilers, and requires EPA to take another 15 months to "re-propose" four rules affecting boilers.
Known as the BOILER MACT rules, the regulations affect boilers, process heaters, and incinerators located at thousands of manufacturing and industrial facilities, as well as universities and colleges, hospitals and medical centers, commercial facilities, hotels and apartment buildings, and municipal buildings and facilities. The EPA's own estimates reveal that capital expenditures for businesses to implement the rules would total $5.8 billion and the costs for the rules collectively would be $2.3 billion annually. Other estimates show the costs to be even higher.
The "Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act" (H.R. 2273), which passed by a vote of 267 to 144, would ensure that coal ash requirements are no more stringent than existing criteria governing municipal solid waste landfills. To do so, the bill establishes a state-based regulatory framework for the disposal and management of coal ash. A Veritas economic report released in June 2011 found that designating coal ash as hazardous could cost up to $110 billion and an estimated between 184,000 to 316,000 jobs could be lost.
"Responsible regulation is one thing, excessive, redundant, or unreasonable is another," said Thornberry.
Both votes are part of the House push to rein in or repeal job-killing regulations that businesses say are hurting job growth. A recent study by the Heritage Foundation found that an unprecedented 43 major regulations were imposed in fiscal year 2010 with a total economic cost of $26.5 billion, the highest total since at least 1981.
In recent weeks, lawmakers have passed bills to delay and revamp air pollutant limits for cement kilns (H.R. 2681), as well as a measure known as the TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401) that would roll back EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and requires the federal government to evaluate the impact of certain EPA regulations on jobs, consumers, small businesses, state and local governments, and agriculture. In addition, a bill called the "Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act," which prohibits the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from ordering a private employer to restore, shut down, or relocate business operations, was also approved.