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Inhofe Previews Obama State of the Union: President Should Address the Flood of Regulations Coming From EPA - They Threaten Jobs and Job Creation
January 25, 2011

Posted by Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov

 
As prepared for delivery 

Hello, I am Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican Senator from Oklahoma.

Tonight, the President will be delivering his State of the Union Address, and he will speak about bringing the nation together.  I applaud him for this effort. This is an important message, especially in the wake of the tragedy in Tucson.  We continue to pray for the victims, and for the full and speedy recovery of Gabrielle Giffords.  

The President will also focus on jobs, and various approaches to get Americans back to work.  I hope the President addresses the flood of regulations coming from EPA - put simply, they threaten jobs and job creation. 

The President could find common ground with Republicans if he pledges to bring those rules back into balance.  Right now, they pose a dangerous threat to the competitiveness of manufacturers and small businesses, particularly in America's Heartland.

In just two years, the Obama Administration has put every institution that has made America great under attack: the military, health care, agriculture, the financial sector - all are feeling the brunt of the Administration's liberal agenda. 

I will say here very clearly: if the President doesn't heed calls for change in his regulatory policies, then Congress will have to change them. 

We will start with EPA's backdoor attempt to impose cap-and-trade taxes on consumers and employers.  The President failed to pass this agenda in Congress - too many members understood its destructive costs and negligible benefits.  Now he's using the EPA and the Clean Air Act to make it happen. 

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) once referred to EPA's global warming agenda as "a glorious mess."  He was right.  EPA regulation could cover 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 17,000 farms.  And what is the result?  By EPA's estimates, global mean temperature would drop about one-hundredth of a degree by 2100. 

The cost-benefit analysis here is fairly straightforward.  And so is the answer to this glorious mess: repeal it. 

By joining with Congress, the President would send a strong message to job creators that America is open for business again.

Of course global warming regulation is just the beginning.  Beyond greenhouse gases, EPA is developing rules affecting manufacturing facilities, power plants, refineries, and cement kilns.  These rules are admirable in their intent: to reduce harmful pollution.  Yet despite EPA's assurance, EPA's solution is wildly out of balance, posing unacceptable costs with questionable benefits.

Let me give you an example: the so-called Boiler MACT rule, which covers thousands of industrial boilers across the country.  The respected consulting firm IHS-Global Insight estimates that the rule puts up to 800,000 jobs at risk. The United Steel Workers says the proposal will "imperil the operating status of many industrial plants," putting "tens of thousands of jobs" at risk. 

In fact, this rule is so badly written that 23 Republicans and 18 Democrats in the Senate wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to voice their opposition.  In the House, 106 members, including 45 Democrats, sent a similar letter.

EPA is also preparing the Utility MACT, covering power plants.  Coal-fired power plants, and the thousands of people they employ, are especially at risk.  According to a consultant to the United Mine Workers, 16 coal-fired plants in West Virginia, 38 in Ohio, 32 in Michigan, 24 in Indiana, 21 in Pennsylvania, and 21 in Wisconsin are, in his view, "at risk" of shutting down because of Utility MACT and other EPA rules.

Speaking of shutting down, EPA could soon require ozone levels that, in some areas, are lower than what occur naturally in the ambient air.   EPA is relying on science that is nearly 6 years old, and appears to be ignoring recent studies undermining its position.  If EPA continues on its current course, nearly 600 counties across the nation could be in "non-attainment." 

In plain English, that means communities struggling to grow their economies will face new regulations, loss of industry and economic development, plant closures, and increased fuel and energy costs.  If you don't believe me, ask 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.  They say EPA's ozone rule will "lead to significant job losses across the country during a period of high unemployment."

The list of rules is long, so I won't delve into every one of them now.  But the point here is simple.  The President has an opportunity to follow through on his recent Executive Order covering regulations.  Is he really serious about, as he wrote recently, "striking the right balance"?  If he is, he should start with EPA, and work with Republicans to rein in an agency that poses serious harm to America's manufacturing base-and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports. 

In the meantime, I will be working with my colleagues in the House to investigate these rules, to expose their impacts on jobs, energy prices, competitiveness, small businesses, and energy security.  I also will examine whether EPA's assertions about public health and environmental benefits are credible.   

It's time to get America back to work.  The path forward must include restoring balance in the regulatory process.  We will hold the President accountable in the coming months.  We will see whether he's serious about jobs and enhancing American competitiveness.  If left to its own devices, EPA will undermine both.

Thank you.    

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