Vitter: Administration Hides Regulatory Onslaught in the Days Before Thanksgiving
Fall 2013 Unified Agenda reveals hundreds of new rules and regulations, majority coming from EPA
December 4, 2013
U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding the semiannual Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda), which was released on November 26, 2013. The Fall 2013 Agenda lays out 134 rules specific to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including 2014 deadlines to finalize standards for Cooling Water Intake structures, the Tier 3 gasoline rule, and revisions to the definition of solid waste, as well as deadlines to propose greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants and fine particulate matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) implementation requirements.
"These new rules listed in the Unified Agenda will have a substantial impact on the future of this country's energy production and independence," said Vitter. "At this point, the federal government should be doing everything it possibly can to encourage and support economic growth, especially in the industries that have proven to be successful - instead they're slapping a mountain of new rules and regulations on our job creators. This means staying away from unnecessary requirements and restrictions, while maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with the private sector to figure out the best path forward. While most of America was enjoying their turkey and stuffing, the Administration was stuffing our economy with burdensome and expensive regulations."
Vitter has been working to increase transparency within the EPA, focusing on the process to implement new rules and regulations. In January, Vitter wrote to then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, regarding the Agency's failure to release their mandated regulatory agenda for an unprecedented eight months.
Background on the Unified Agenda
The Unified Agenda provides the public with a list of upcoming agency actions including: pre-rule actions, proposed rules, final rules or interim final rules, long-term actions, and completed actions. The Unified Agenda is designed to give job creators the opportunity to plan ahead for new regulations, without proper lead-time, businesses are left with uncertainty, which can halt capital investments and job growth. Each federal agency is required to submit their regulatory agendas, consisting of current or expected regulatory actions, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which will then biannually publish the Unified Agenda. Of note, last year, in an unprecedented manner OIRA did not publish a spring and fall agenda. Instead, OIRA only published one Unified Agenda in December 21, 2012.
The 134 rules EPA listed in the Fall 2013 Unified Agenda include:
• GHG standards for new power plants (proposed September 20, 2013, which has yet to be released for public comment) is expected to be finalized in 2014
• GHG standards for existing power plants to be proposed in June 2014
• 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) implementation requirements finalized by May 2014
• 2012 Particulate Matter NAAQS implementation requirements proposed by May 2014
• Tier 3 rule to be finalized in February 2014
• Revisions to the definition of solid waste finalized by February 2014
• Standards for Cooling Water Intake Structures to be finalized January 2014
• "Waters of the US" proposed rule expected in 2014, but did not list a date of release