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Letter to Fred Upton, Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Ed Whitfield, Chairman, Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce - EPA Regulations Report


Location: Unknown

The Honorable Fred Upton
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Ed Whitfield
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Upton and Chairman Whitfield:

We are writing to urge you to withdraw your website posting entitled "EPA's Ever-Expanding Web of Red Tape," which claims that "[s]ince 2009, and in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA, the EPA has proposed or finalized over 100 new GHG-related regulations." This claim is both factually incorrect and fundamentally misleading.

You support your claim with a list of 101 notices published in the Federal Register, which is titled "EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations (2009 -- Present)." However, this list includes many errors.

Some are careless mistakes, such as two rules that were listed twice each; notices that are not rules at all, such as a notice of a two-week extension of a public comment period and a notice of draft guidance; a proposal that has subsequently been withdrawn and replaced with a new proposal (which was counted separately); proposals and interim rules that were replaced with final rules (which were counted separately); a rule regulating release of volatile organic compounds and air toxics, not GHG emissions; and rules that are minor technical corrections, such as one that corrects a reference to the wrong statute and another that fixes a section heading that had been incorrectly printed in the Federal Register.

Thirty-nine of the listed rules are EPA actions approving state amendments to state implementation plans (SIP). Of these 39 actions, two are ministerial amendments (which are exempt from notice and comment requirements) that remove prior EPA disapprovals of portions of state plans, and 36 approve state amendments to existing state plans, including several that also revoke federal implementation plans, which had previously supplanted elements of the state laws. None of these EPA SIP approvals imposes additional requirements on sources beyond the state laws. Only one of these 39 actions partially disapproves a state plan.

An additional 29 of the listed rules require industry to do nothing more than publicly disclose their carbon pollution. Many of these are drafted as separate rules so that they can be tailored to the specific circumstances of different industrial sectors. Of these 29 rules, at least 10 are deregulatory and reduce burdens on industry, and several were actually issued in response to industry petitions for reconsideration. These rules extend deadlines, provide alternative measurement methodologies, and provide other flexibilities requested by industry.

Other listed rules in other categories are also deregulatory in nature. One rule provides additional flexibility for state permit writers, while another defers permitting requirements for three years for certain sources of biogenic CO2 in response to a petition for reconsideration from the National Alliance of Forest Owners. It is difficult to see how such deregulatory actions are appropriately cited as evidence of excessive or burdensome rulemaking.

In total, at least two-thirds of the listed actions would not impose any new regulatory burden whatsoever on sources to control or report their GHG emissions.

There is no dispute that EPA has finally begun to carry out its statutory responsibilities to control carbon pollution. We strongly applaud these efforts. EPA's regulations to reduce carbon pollution from light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles are cost-effective and consumer-friendly. The greenhouse gas reporting rules are critical to give us a better understanding of the quantities of carbon pollution released by specific sources in the United States. The "tailoring rule" to limit the coverage of statutory GHG permitting requirements for new stationary sources does not directly reduce carbon pollution, but it does allow EPA and state permitting authorities to focus their limited resources on the largest emitters. The proposed rule for new fossil-fuel fired power plants, as well as the planned proposed rule to address existing power plants, will for the first time regulate the largest single source of carbon pollution in the United States.

But it is misleading in the extreme to suggest that EPA has issued over 100 rules regulating carbon pollution. As of now, there are no carbon pollution limits on the vast majority of large sources of carbon pollution in the United States. The problem is not that we are moving too fast to slow catastrophic climate change; the problem is that we are moving too slowly.

The window to prevent catastrophic climate change is rapidly closing. We should be supporting responsible regulation by EPA, not misleading the public with wild and inaccurate misrepresentations about what EPA is actually doing.


Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Member

Bobby L. Rush
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Energy and Power

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