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Important News from Capitol Hill: Senator McConnell on the EPA Regulatory Relief Act


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The legislation I'd like to highlight is H.R. 2250, The EPA Regulatory Relief Act. This legislation passed the House overwhelming last month. Forty-one Democrats supported it over there. Senator Collins has introduced a similar bill here in the Senate. It's also got strong bipartisan support.

Most Americans are probably aware by now that the Obama Administration is crushing businesses across the country with a mountain of red tape and new regulations that it imposes outside the legislative process. When asked about the challenges they face, small business owners now rank these regulations at the top.

Well, one of the chief offenders is the EPA. And one of the most potentially damaging regulations this red-tape factory has proposed yet relates to the boilers that are used by just about every manufacturer or institution in this country that doesn't get the power it needs from the standard utilities. Right now, the EPA wants to force anybody with an industrial sized boiler to change their facilities to comply with a burdensome new regulation that, according to one study, could put 230,000 U.S. jobs at risk.

Here's what it will do to protect jobs here in America.

First, it provides more time for the EPA to issue new regulations for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers, process heaters, and incinerators. This is time that the EPA itself has indicated that it needs in order to collect more data and analysis, and to finalize the rules. So it gives the EPA what it says it needs.

More specifically, it would provide the EPA 15 months from the date of the bill's enactment to re-propose and finalize the new boiler rules -- which, I want to emphasize, the EPA has already requested.

This bill would also extend the compliance deadlines from three to five years, which would allow companies adequate time to comply with the new standards and install the required equipment.

Crucially, this bill would also direct the EPA to ensure that the new rules are achievable and realistic.

We all recognize the vital role the EPA plays in keeping the air we breathe and water we drink clean and safe. But we also need to set some common sense limits on its actions. And that means putting in place laws that protect Americans against the kind of regulatory overreach that too many unelected bureaucrats in Washington seem to live for these days, especially in these challenging economic times.

As I said, this bill has a lot of support not only from Republicans, but from Democrats in the Senate. In fact, twelve of the bill's cosponsors are Democrats. Like me, they understand and appreciate how these new rules would adversely affect jobs and manufacturing in this country. And they want to work with us to do something about it. So this is a perfect example of an issue on which the two parties agree.

Sen. Ron Wyden supports this bill because it "directs the EPA to go back to the drawing board and craft boiler rules that are more in line with what is realistic for mills and factories.' He argues that the "EPA itself has admitted that its boiler rules need to be fixed.' And here's how Senator Landrieu put it over the summer: "With manufacturing being one of the bright spots in our economic recovery, we cannot afford to jeopardize the industry's health and the high-paying jobs it supplies to this country. This legislation will give the EPA the time extension it needs to craft a balanced approach that not only keeps our environment clean, but also our economy strong…'

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