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Editorial: Obama's EPA is killing the economy with costly rules
November 28, 2011

Posted by Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov

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Washington Examiner

Editorial: Obama's EPA is killing the economy with costly rules

Link to EPA IG Report

Link to WSJ Editorial: The Non-Green Jobs Boom

Under President Obama's hand-picked administrator, Lisa Jackson, EPA is hog-tying the economy with dozens of proposed major new rules. One of them, which is aimed at coal-fired power plants that generate electricity, will add at least $18 billion in compliance costs by 2020. As Kathleen White of the Texas Public Policy Center told the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year, "never in its 40-year history has EPA promulgated -- at the same time -- so many costly new regulatory dictates. The rules on track to go into effect in the next three years could cost more than $1 trillion and result in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost."

It's not just the raft of new rules that is killing economic growth, however. Jackson and her EPA minions have been purposefully slow-walking the agency's already hideously complex process for approving permits in a crucial sector of the energy industry. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., asked the EPA inspector general to review the agency's permitting process for surface mining permit applications in the Appalachian region over the last two years. The EPA IG found that of the 185 permit applications it identified, only 56, or less than one-third of the total, had been approved. Almost half of the 185 required at least 731 days for EPA to complete its evaluations. That compares with the 144 days EPA claims is its average evaluation period for all mining permit applications. At least a third of the 185 were simply withdrawn from consideration, presumably because the applicants despaired of ever getting a response from EPA.

The IG report confirmed Inhofe's prior suspicion that EPA has been "systematically slowing the pace of permit evaluations in Appalachia. Even more troubling is that as our nation works to find ways to cut our national debt, EPA has increased its budget and staff to evaluate these permits. Instead of spending more and more taxpayer dollars to wage this war on affordable energy, the Obama-EPA should be processing and approving these permits to spur job creation, especially in areas such as the Appalachia that have significant employment needs. Equally important is the potential domestic energy production that these permits would provide."

Because 40 percent of the electricity that Americans depend on daily is generated by power plants fueled by coal -- much of which comes from Appalachia -- sluggardly permit processing by EPA should concern everybody. And let's not forget that Jackson works for a president who before he was elected promised that his environmental policies would "necessarily cause electricity prices to skyrocket."

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