Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

David Lungren (202) 224-5642

Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy joint hearing entitled, "Clean Air Act and Jobs."

Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:00 am

I want to thank all of the witnesses for attending today, and thank you, Sen. Carper and Sen. Sanders, for holding this hearing. 

I think we all embrace the significant air quality improvements achieved by businesses and other regulated sources under the Clean Air Act since 1970.  I think we also agree that we want clean air progress to continue.  Now here's where we disagree: on the extent, on the pace, and on the tools we use to achieve future success in reducing real pollution. 

My colleagues and the Obama EPA believe that more regulation, even if draconian, necessarily means more benefits and more jobs.  As David Montgomery of CRA International will show, this is simply wrong.  But you don't have to take my word for it, or even David's: just listen to the testimony of Mayor Homrighausen from the city of Dover, Ohio. 

You see, we invited the mayor today because, as he writes in his testimony, he's "from coal country," straight from "the heart of the industrial Midwest."  There are 950 commercial, industrial, and institutional businesses in Dover.  So the mayor knows first-hand that ill-conceived regulations can put jobs at risk.  In other words, there is a cost to what EPA is doing-and it will be borne in east-central Ohio and in communities just like it across the heartland.

I should note that the mayor is also the director of the city's municipal electric system, Dover Light and Power.  And from what I've read, Dover Light and Power is under siege as it faces an overlapping mess of unrealistic EPA mandates.  If they are not tempered by reality, Dover will have fewer jobs, fewer businesses, and higher electric rates. 

Now, the mayor is very proud of Dover's environmental record, and he wants to make greater progress in reducing pollution.  But his point is well-taken: EPA is doing too much, too fast.  And one point on which I'm sure he'd agree is that EPA has no idea of the cumulative economic impact of its regulations covering industrial boilers, coal-fired power plants, coal ash disposal sites, and manufacturing facilities; it has no idea of their impact on Dover's jobs, Dover's local revenues, and Dover's factories.

Well, Mr. Mayor, help is on the way.  Yesterday, Sen. Johanns (R-Neb.) and I introduced the Comprehensive Assessment of Regulations on the Economy, or CARE Act.  The bill puts the Department of Commerce in charge of a federal panel, comprised of several departments and agencies, which would conduct a cumulative economic analysis of all the rules you're concerned about.  The panel must look at impacts on jobs, agriculture, manufacturing, coal, electricity, and gasoline prices-all of the things that you and mayors like you care about. 

Help also comes in the form of the Energy Tax Prevention Act, also known as "Upton-Inhofe."  It would stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  Both this bill and the CARE Act will help put a stop to the Obama Administration's harmful cap-and-trade agenda directed squarely at Dover, Ohio and the heartland of America.