Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), and other members of the committee wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today with a series of additional questions on matters discussed during the committee's recent hearing on the EPA's FY 2013 budget request. The leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are requesting the agency make potential rulemaking activities public, confirm that the scope of new gasoline regulations do not include components that could raise the prices at the pump by as much as 25 cents per gallon, and provide further information regarding the agency's use of funds.
In an effort to improve transparency, committee members asked Jackson at the hearing to make certain information about the agency's regulatory processes publicly available. Jackson committed to posting a list of petitions for rulemakings submitted to the agency as well as a list of all notices of intent to sue to compel a rulemaking. Although the administrator expressed willingness at the hearing to comply with committee requests, EPA has not yet taken action.
"We write to ask that the agency promptly make this information publicly accessible. In making this information available, we specifically ask that there be a single place on the agency's website where EPA compiles these petitions, notices and requests for agency action, including copies of the documents themselves, and makes them accessible to the public upon receipt. To ensure the usefulness of the information, we also ask that you commit to updating the list and posting any new requests for agency action on a timely basis going forward," wrote the members.
The committee leaders also expressed concern over the agency's anticipated new Tier 3 gasoline standards, which they fear will impose harsh new burdens on domestic refiners and drive gasoline prices even higher. In the hearing, Jackson committed that EPA would limit the scope of its revised motor vehicles and fuel standards. Members asked Jackson to confirm her statements, writing, "Specifically, you were asked whether the Tier 3 gasoline regulations would include Reid Vapor Pressure or octane components. You testified that it would not and that the Tier 3 rule would be limited to reducing sulfur. We ask that you confirm in writing that the final rule for Tier 3 gasoline regulations will not include Reid Vapor Pressure or octane components together with your response to the requests that follow."
In addition, the committee continues to press EPA on its use of taxpayer funds. According to EPA testimony, the agency currently does not report information about the use of recoveries of unpaid obligations in its annual budget justification. They members wrote, "According to Government Accountability Office data, EPA over the past six fiscal years recovered an average of $200 million per year for use in various accounts. Such information about EPA resources would be useful for Congress as it considers EPA's proposed budget requests."