Washington, D.C. - A bipartisan group of Senators, including Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) joined today to send a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concern that EPA's Tier 3 standards will greatly increase the cost of gasoline and put jobs at risk at a time when Americans are struggling to make ends meet in a weak economy.
Senator Inhofe: "Today's letter to EPA Administrator Jackson demonstrates that there is continued bipartisan Congressional concern that EPA is overreaching its authority and harming American families and our economy in the process. Gasoline prices are already on the rise - EPA's Tier 3 standards will only make them go higher. I will be working closely with my colleagues to provide appropriate oversight of EPA on this issue."
Senator Murkowski: "A high level of bipartisan concern has emerged over EPA's looming Tier 3 regulations. Gas prices are already high, especially in Alaska, and our nation's economy continues to struggle. Despite this, EPA has chosen to proceed with a rulemaking that could lead to added financial burden on families and businesses. I hope that Administrator Jackson will pay close and careful attention to the unintended negative impacts this rule could have, especially in combination with the rest of EPA's regulatory agenda."
Senator Vitter: "When Washington bureaucrats think up new regulations without taking into account the real-world consequences, it rarely turns out well. These new Tier 3 regulations unfortunately appear to be more of the same. They would place enormous demands and major expenses on energy producers, with the biggest burden falling on small businesses, consumers paying more at that pump and thousands of energy employees - and it's not even clear whether the rules would be effective. EPA needs to do a lot more work to justify the cost and effort that would be required before they should even consider implementing these new mandates."
Senator Barrasso: "This letter sends a clear bipartisan message to this Administration - help the hard working folks who are feeling the pain at the pump."
Senator Landrieu: "I am deeply concerned that the EPA is crafting these new Tier 3 regulations without regard to the real-world consequences for American consumers and businesses. With Americans already feeling the pinch from high gas prices, these regulations stand to burden our country even further. I urge the EPA to consider the negative consequences that this rule could have on American families and our economy as a whole."
Senator Begich: "Before asking Americans to pay even more at the pump, we need to be certain these new standards will truly be effective in reducing emissions and making the air we breathe cleaner."
Specifically, EPA is preparing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) that will lower the sulfur content in gasoline from 30ppm to 10ppm - and this comes at a high cost. It is estimated that the price tag of Tier 3 will be $17 billion in initial capital costs and $13 billion in annual operating and maintenance costs. These costs will certainly be passed on to consumers in the form of higher gasoline prices. As the Senators' letter states, "Depending on the stringency of the proposed rule" Tier 3 standards, "could add 12 to 25 cents to each gallon of gasoline." Tier 3 could also put jobs at 147 refineries subject to these standards at risk.
Especially since the language of Tier 3 is discretionary, not mandatory, this bipartisan group of Senators is requesting that Administrator Jackson first allow for a "thorough public explanation of existing rules and costs associated with new Tier 3 requirements - as well as potential consequences for fuel production, reliability, and deliverability - before moving forward with a proposed rulemaking" - and that EPA reconsider the timing of Tier 3 standards for gasoline.