The Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), held a hearing this morning to receive testimony from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency that continues to impose more regulatory burdens on communities, businesses, and citizens.
The EPA has the primary responsibility for carrying out the Clean Water Act, which provides for a major federal/state program to protect, restore, and maintain the quality of the nation's waters. However, significant parts of the program are administered by the states with EPA's approval. EPA also administers the Superfund program, which is aimed at investigating and cleaning up uncontrolled and abandoned sites contaminated with hazardous substances.
"In the last year I have become alarmed at the overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency," said Chairman Gibbs. "The budget put forth from the Administration for Fiscal Year 2013 does nothing to alleviate my concerns.
"Starting with the proliferation of so-called "guidance' coming out of EPA and an exponential increase in regulations being proposed and finalized by the agency, these are attempts to short-circuit the process for changing law without following a proper, transparent rulemaking process or the consent of Congress," Gibbs continued. "These actions being carried out by the EPA are often 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 taking these actions with little regard to economic consequences, with little regard to national security, and most importantly, with little regard to the law," noted Gibbs. "This is a government that believes it has no limit on its power. I am concerned that, while the President is imposing more regulatory burdens on communities, businesses, and citizens, he is at the same time calling for eliminating compliance assistance to those same communities, businesses, and citizens.
Gibbs continued, "The President's budget also calls for the reinstatement of the old and arbitrary Superfund tax on chemical companies, financial institutions, and other business sectors that may have had nothing to do with creating the environmental problems associated with a Superfund site.
"So, what we have here is a federal agency that will add to the burden of rules and regulations and eliminate programs to help communities 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," Gibbs concluded.