Friday, October 8, 2010

New Senate Report: Obamas Quietest Jobs-Killing Machine

New York Post

Op-Ed: O's quietest jobs-killing machine

By Jim Inhofe

October 5, 2010

Link to Senate Report 

WATCH: Inhofe Speech: EPA's Anti-Industrial Policy

Link to Op-Ed 

One insidious force keeping unemployment high is regulatory uncertainty: Companies that could hire (or re-hire), don't -- because they're worried about what new restrictions will be coming down from Washington.

Congress bears much of the blame -- especially for the new "financial reform" law, which leaves so many details to be filled in later. But a major contributor to businesses' worries is the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, which is issuing a daily barrage of rules and regulations threatening jobs in American industry.

So concludes "EPA's Anti-Industrial Policy: Threatening Jobs and America's Manufacturing Base" -- a new report from the minority staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (on which I serve as ranking member).

The report focuses on four of the EPA's most egregiously anti-business proposals and explains how they threaten American jobs and global competitiveness.

One example: the EPA's proposed rules for industrial boilers -- which the consulting firm IHS-Global Insight found could cost 800,000 jobs.

The United Steel Workers union says the proposal "will be sufficient to imperil the operating status of many industrial plants . . . Tens of thousands of these jobs will be imperiled . . . many more tens of thousands of jobs in the supply chains and in the communities where these plants are located also will be at risk."

Communities should also be bracing for new regulatory burdens from EPA's pending ozone decision. The Obama EPA is now expected to demand, in some areas, ozone levels lower than what occur naturally in the ambient air.

The economic impacts are sure to be disastrous. Nearly 600 counties across the nation could be in "non-attainment," which entails, among other things, draconian new regulations to lower emissions; loss of industry and economic development, including plant closures, and increased fuel and energy costs.

Several New York counties -- Monroe, Seneca, Fulton and Essex, among others -- are at risk of "non-attainment" status, meaning more job losses.

Unions for Jobs and the Environment, an organization of 12 national and international labor unions (including the United Mine Workers, the Teamsters and the Sheet Metal Workers) warns that the ozone rules "would lead to significant job losses across the country during a period of high unemployment."

The Obama administration clearly knows these numbers won't sell with the American public -- it has delayed announcement of the ozone rules from August to the end of this month, too late (it hopes) to register before Election Day.

The EPA adds insult to injury with its endangerment finding for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. This finding (issued after the Senate refused to pass a cap-and-trade bill for the fourth time in seven years) will lead to onerous new regulations potentially covering over 6 million sources in the economy.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the finding may "force" the EPA to regulate 260,000 office buildings, 150,000 warehouses, 92,000 health-care facilities, 71,000 hotels and motels, 51,000 food-service facilities, 37,000 churches and other places of worship and 17,000 farms. The regulations will pinch a vast range of industries -- including aluminum production, ammonia production, cement, iron, steel, lime, petrochemical, phosphoric acid production and pulp and paper manufacturing.

Yet, by EPA estimates, the net effect of these regulations would be to cut global mean temperature by about one-hundredth of a degree by 2100.

Of course, reducing global warming is not the point. As the report shows, the EPA's proposals have negligible environmental benefits. Instead, they are the vanguard of President Obama's anti-industrial policy agenda -- pushing America's manufacturing base overseas.

As Americans continue to feel the economic pain of the recession and fear for their jobs, it's time for Congress to do its job: This agenda must be stopped.

Inhofe Calls 10:10 Global Warming Shock Video Outrageous - Last-Ditch Effort

National Review Online 

‘Eco-Fascist Snuff Movie'

October 2, 2010

By Robert Costa

Watch Fox News Coverage

Link to NRO

Richard Curtis, the British director of Love Actually (2003), has produced a new climate-change awareness video that includes gruesome images of exploding schoolchildren. In the spot, students who refuse to comply with carbon-cutting standards are slaughtered by their teacher.

The video - dubbed an "eco-fascist snuff movie" by James Delingpole of the Daily Telegraph - has caused a stir across the pond. Due to public outcry, the video has since been removed from the web by its sponsor, the 10:10 group.

Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), the ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, tells National Review Online that the clip is an "outrageous, last-ditch effort" by the green movement to "scare little kids into thinking that they could be killed if they don't believe what they're told to believe."

More on the controversy here.

Holding EPA Accountable: Inhofe Efforts Helped Implementation of Lead-Based Paint Rule

Prior to Congress adjourning, Senator Inhofe lauded the explosion of contractors trained in the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. Inhofe led the efforts in the Senate to put a hold on the EPA rule to ensure more time for contractors to take classes and come into compliance.  The enforcement delay has allowed another 160 training providers to be certified; an additional 14,500 courses to be held since April; and a total of 476,700 people to receive training in lead safe work practices. Thanks to the delay, contractors who signed up for classes by September 30th have until the end of 2010 to complete them without facing EPA fines.

Full Text of Speech

Mr. President - I would like to take a few minutes today to speak about the importance of oversight.

As you may recall, on April 22, 2010, EPA's new lead-based paint rule, the Lead, Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, went into effect. At that time, homeowners, contractors, landlords, plumbers, and many others were trying to get more information about the rule that, in most cases, they had just learned about.  

This rule affects anyone who owns or lives in a home built before 1978 and is looking to do a renovation.  Specifically, the rule requires that renovations in homes that disturb more than six square feet be supervised by a certified renovator and conducted by a certified renovation firm. In order to become certified, contractors must submit an application - with a fee - to EPA, and complete a training course for instruction on lead-safe work practices.  Those who violate the rule could face a fine of $37,500 a day.

In my role as Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, prior to implementation, I sent several letters to EPA expressing concern with the rate of training. I wrote on two separate occasions, warning EPA that it seemed unprepared to properly implement the rule.  In both cases, EPA said they were ready.

In a June 30, 2009 letter responding to my concerns, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator James J. Jones wrote: 

"I agree that both EPA and the regulated community have a great deal of preparation in front of us as we approach next April's deadline. I am confident, however, that the ten months between now and April 2010 will allow us to meet this deadline....We are confident that all renovators subject to the requirements of the rule will be able to find a provider in advance of our deadline."

In a letter dated December 10, 2009, EPA Assistant Administrator Stephen A. Owens also wrote,

"we are confident there will be enough training providers to meet the demand. EPA does not plan to revise the April 2010 effective date of the RRP rule. ...Currently, the capacity for training is in excess of the demand as several training courses have been cancelled for lack of attendance."

On April 22, 2010, the day the rule went into effect, EPA had only accredited 204 training providers who had conducted just over 6,900 courses, training an estimated 160,000 people in the construction and remodeling industries to use lead-safe work practices. That number fell far short of the total number of remodelers who would be working on pre-1978 homes. 

That's right: EPA had only trained an estimated 160,000 people in the construction and remodeling industries to use lead-safe work practices.

This came as no surprise.  So I sent a bipartisan letter to OMB requesting that EPA delay implementation of the rule until there was enough time for more people to be certified.  Additionally, I spoke to Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at OMB, and was joined by some of my Oklahoma contractors, who relayed the difficulties they were facing. I appreciate Mr. Sunstein listening to the concerns of my Oklahoma constituents. He told us he recognized the economic impact of the implementation of the rule and explored ways to provide a sixty-day delay, but, by April 23, we simply ran out of options.

The rule was in place, there were not enough renovators, and EPA argued that a delay in the rule would delay protection for children and their families. But because the federal government failed to meet the demand for certified contractors, the federal government was already delaying the implementation of the rule.

I was proud that the Senate intervened to send a clear message to EPA. The Senate passed the Collins-Inhofe amendment, S. 4253, to the supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 4899) by a vote of 60 to 37.  This amendment prevented supplemental funds from being used to implement the rule.  The vote showed overwhelming bipartisan concern about EPA's disastrous implementation of the lead-based paint rule.

Fortunately, EPA got the message. On June 18, 2010, EPA's enforcement office issued a memorandum extending the lead rule deadline for renovators to enroll in training classes until September 30, 2010.  Furthermore, it has extended the deadline for contractors to complete training to December 31, 2010, and most importantly, the agency agreed to work to provide additional trainers in areas of need.

EPA's concerns about extending additional time for renovators to become certified never materialized; in fact, instead of people continuing to delay signing up for classes, people flocked to them. EPA's most recent training numbers show that, as of September 23, 2010, EPA has accredited 364 training providers who have conducted more than 21,400 courses, training an estimated 476,700 people in the construction and remodeling industries to use lead-safe work practices.

More time has meant greater ability to take classes and come into compliance.  The delay has allowed:

 - another 160 training providers to be certified,

 - an additional 14,500 courses to be held,

 - and 316,700 people to receive training in lead safe work practices.

Unfortunately, we did not have one oversight hearing on this rule. There were numerous opportunities prior to the rule going final, but they were never taken.  Nonetheless, I am pleased to have worked with Senators Collins, Alexander, Vitter, Coburn, and others to highlight this important issue and provide additional time for renovators to attend training classes.

Oklahoman Editorial: EPA Dust Proposals Would Pinch Farm Country

The Oklahoman

Editorial: EPA dust proposals would pinch farm country 

Published: October 6, 2010

Link to Editorial 

A draft assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency that could lead to regulations on pesticides, herbicides, farm dust and other items suggests a fundamental question: Do these Washington bureaucrats know anything about farm country?

The EPA has hired 23 independent scientists to see how much dust and other material is floating in the air, with an eye on stricter rules for airborne particulate matter. EPA is looking at replacing the current standard of 150 micrograms per cubic meter with a standard of between 65 and 85 micrograms per cubic meter - essentially cutting in half the amount of particulate matter allowed in the air.

Members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation believe this would be especially devastating in farming areas. Last week Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, called the proposals job killers.

They also don't pass the good-sense test. "We are talking about dust kicked up by tilling fields and harvesting crops, cattle movements and pickups driving down dirt roads," the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Tamara Thies told The Oklahoman. "For agriculture, the current standard is already very difficult and costly to meet; doubling it would be virtually impossible."

Some suggest spraying water to control dust, which would be expensively wasteful, or using low- or no-till techniques. Many farmers already use those methods. "If EPA is allowed to continue down this path," Lucas said, "the only choice for many farmers and ranchers will be to stop farming altogether."

Surely that's not EPA's aim. But sometimes you wonder.

EPW Policy Beat: Metaphysical Subtleties

For businesses facing growing regulatory uncertainty from Washington, EPA's greenhouse gas regime must be downright vexing. We don't refer only to EPA's mere rewriting of the Clean Air Act (CAA) in its greenhouse gas tailoring rule. We also mean EPA's rather bizarre invitation to states to change their laws by having them simply change the interpretation of those laws to mean, well, what they clearly don't.

To understand such strangeness, one must know that EPA is acting desperately in hopes of avoiding the "glorious mess" that regulating GHGs will surely create. As a means to that end, the agency recently proposed a "SIP" (State Implementation Plan) call for states whose laws and/or regulations are deemed deficient in that they don't authorize GHG regulation. EPA has granted states one year to correct those deficiencies; EPA in the meantime would become the backstop GHG permitting authority-permanently so, if states refuse to make the necessary changes.

EPA claims that federalizing PSD and Title V will expedite permitting, though it acknowledges, in remarkable understatement, that "questions may arise" as to how it might work. We suspect some states will view surrendering their permitting authority to EPA as distasteful. To avoid that, some states will no doubt press ahead to change their laws. But in doing so, they could encounter difficulties (opposition, delay, lawsuits, etc.). No matter, EPA has the solution: it's all a matter of interpretation.

That is, if states find they can't change their relevant laws by January 2, 2011-the date on which GHGs become pollutants "subject to regulation" under the CAA-but want the ability to permit construction activity, then the state can, according to EPA, simply change their interpretation of their laws.

States, EPA asserted, could declare that the term "subject to regulation" should "be considered not to apply literally in the case of GHG sources." As for getting approval from the legislature or undertaking a formal rulemaking, never mind:

Although EPA is revising its regulations to apply the phrase subject to regulation in this manner, we have been advised that states may be able to adopt our approach without having to undertake a rulemaking action to revise their state regulations or without requiring an act of the state legislature.

Instead, EPA continues:

it is our understanding that states may adopt our approach by interpreting the term ‘‘subject to regulation'' reflected in their regulations to have the same meaning that we are assigning to that term in our regulations in this rulemaking.

So what does "subject to regulation" mean now? Whatever EPA says it means, the law and the intent of Congress notwithstanding:

A ‘major stationary source' is any source of air pollutants, which emits, or has the potential to emit, depending on the source category, either 100 or 250 tons per year or more of any air pollutant subject to regulation under the CAA, except that the source's GHGs are considered to be subject to regulation under the CAA only to the extent indicated under Steps 1 and 2 of the Tailoring Rule, e.g., for Step 2, only if the source's GHG emissions exceed the threshold established in Step 2. [Emphasis added]

That is, not 100/250 tons, as the CAA clearly specifies, but 75,000 and 100,000 tons (Step 1 and Step 2, respectively). States, interpret away.

This act of legal contortion is astounding, both from the perspective of the rule of law and the regulatory certainty that evaporates in its application. This is probably part of what Rep. Dingell (D-Mich.) predicted when he dubbed greenhouse gas regulation under the CAA a "glorious mess."

We suppose EPA's legal creativity, if that's the right term, is understandable as it shoehorns climate change into a statute that was never designed to regulate or control it. But EPA claims the Supreme Court, through Massachusetts v. EPA, made them do it, which of course is not true. The Court gave EPA a choice, and it chose to regulate.

It also has chosen to arbitrarily change the meaning of the CAA. EPA's action in the tailoring rule harkens to Jefferson's aphorism:

Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.

State Journal: Inhofe Seeks Answers From EPA On Spruce No. 1 Mine Permit

The State Journal

Thursday, June 10, 2010

By Dan Page

Link to Column

Link to Inhofe Letter

The West Virginia coal industry's best friend in Oklahoma is seeking some answers from the U.S. EPA.

U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on Oct. 4 that asks for more information about the agency's handling of a permit for Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County.

The EPA issued the permit in 2007 for the Arch Coal operation after a 10-year review, and Inhofe told Jackson he does not believe federal law allows the EPA to revoke an existing permit. Coal companies, he said, deserve some level of certainty in their dealings with regulators.

Coal industry observers believe the EPA's handling of the Spruce permit has interfered with the mining operation's ability to earn a return on its substantial investment, thus justifying a lawsuit to recover damages from the federal government.

In his letter to Jackson, Inhofe asked when the agency would give Spruce an answer. The Oklahoma Republican also sought an explanation for Region 3's decision to extend its review period and asked whether EPA will announce its decision on the permit before or after Nov. 2, i.e., Election Day.

Caught In The Crossfire - Cap-and-Trade Crackup - Climate Bill Meltdown

"Caught in the Crossfire" - "Cap-and-Trade Crackup" -"Climate Bill Meltdown"

Inhofe EPW News Round-up

WSJ: Environment Chief Caught in the Campaign Crossfire  - Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson isn't on any ballots this November. But in some parts of the country, she might as well be.  Ms. Jackson's agency is becoming a foil for congressional candidates across the country. In South Dakota, Republican Kristi Noem has called for Ms. Jackson's resignation, citing the EPA's inaction on a request from ethanol producers to allow more ethanol in gasoline. In Arkansas, embattled Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln is blasting Ms. Jackson's agency for promulgating "overreaching, burdensome" regulations on pesticides used by farmers. In these states and others, Ms. Jackson's EPA has become a focal point of the argument about the role of federal regulation in the economy.

WSJ: Strassel: The Cap-and-Trade Crackup  - Even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi twisted arms for the final votes to pass her climate bill in June 2009, Democrats feared they might be "BTU'd." Many of them recalled how Al Gore had forced the House to vote in 1993 for an energy tax, a vote Democrats later blamed for helping their 1994 defeat.  The politics isn't the same this time around. This time, it's much, much worse.  ...Cap and trade is different. The bill is designed to crush certain industries, namely coal. As coal-state voters have realized this, the vote has become a jobs issue, and one that is explosive. It is no accident that Democrats face particularly tough terrain in such key electoral states as Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana. They are being laser-targeted for their votes to kill home-state industries.

Saunders: Behind the Meltdown of the Climate-Change Bill  - Industry biggies got in on the negotiations and "they were poised to make money."  No worries. If the bill means higher fees, he added, "They can pass it on to consumers."  Shell, BP and ConocoPhilips agreed not to refer to the measure as a "carbon tax." The senators decided to call a proposed fee on gasoline "a fee on polluters."Anything but a "gas tax."  When the White House leaked that it opposed Graham's support of higher gas taxes to Fox News, it was the beginning of the end for Graham.  Then again, the bill always was doomed to fail. One way or another, cap-and-trade has to raise consumer prices - and critics are going to call that a tax hike. The jig was up in 2009 when the Senate voted 98-0 for an amendment against any climate legislation that "directly or indirectly" raised federal taxes.

Washington Times: EPA to Drain $1 Trillion from Economy - The zealots at the Environmental Protection Agency are poised to suck a trillion dollars and 7 million jobs out of the economy with an unnecessary and destructive change to pollution rules. Less than two years ago, the EPA set a ground-level ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb), but Obama administration officials are looking to impose an even lower standard of 60 ppb by fiat. That seemingly small change will have sweeping effects throughout the economy. ...Consumers also would feel the pinch as a 60-ppm standard would create 608 new non-attainment areas that invite bureaucrats to impose draconian rules on everyone in the name of environmentalism. ...This suits the O Force just fine, as the left's ultimate goal is the rolling back of the Industrial Revolution. While automobiles and factories do generate pollution, the environmental extremists fail to acknowledge the incredible benefits they bring to the environment and our quality of life.

Politico: EPA Rules Could Hurt Obama in 2012  - President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is putting some hazardous speed bumps on his 2012 electoral road in key swing states.  Controversial rules covering everything from power plants to petroleum refiners, manufacturers, coal mines and farmers could come back to haunt the White House in industrial and Midwestern states that carried Obama to the presidency two years ago.  Political battlegrounds like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia that Obama won in 2008 will be watching how the EPA moves on climate change. Coal-reliant states such as Missouri - which Obama lost by less than 1 percentage point - will be monitoring clean air rules and coal ash standards. And farm states that Obama carried, including Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, are waiting on a proposal to tighten air quality limits for microscopic soot.

The Hill: Baucus Opposes EPA Climate Regs  - Montana Sen. Max Baucus - chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a senior coal-state Democrat - said he supports a measure that would ban the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and wants Congress to oversee the issue instead.  "That would put too much power into few hands," Baucus said of EPA regulations, as quoted by the Great Falls Tribune following a speech he made Tuesday at a convention of the Montana Electric Cooperatives' Association. Baucus said he prefers legislation to be written by congressional committees representing varying parts of the country and views on economic and environmental issues.

AP: As Elections Loom, EPA Takes Bipartisan Flak on Pollution Rules - The Environmental Protection Agency has run into bipartisan opposition from senators over its plans to cut mercury and other toxic emissions from boilers at large factories and from the heating plants for places such as shopping malls and universities. ...Now, however, jobs are a key issue in the midterm elections. Republicans have a shot at taking control of both houses of Congress. In a Sept. 24 letter, 41 senators accused the EPA of proposing regulations on the boilers that would lead "to the loss of potentially thousands of high-paying jobs."