U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today highlighted three major rules that could be enacted over the course of the next two years and would have devastating impacts on the U.S. economy. Vitter highlighted recent comments from his Senate colleagues implying the President's lame duck work period is not relevant.
"Saying the next two years ‘don't matter' under the lame duck period of President Obama's tenure is ridiculous," said Vitter. "The next two years will be a critical time to continue fighting back against the President's job-killing policies. Specifically, EPA's recently proposed or pending rules - including Waters of the United States, ozone, and existing source - will shut down job-creating projects in every state."
WOTUS: Federal Takeover of Private Property Rights and Businesses
The proposed "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) would significantly increase the amount of private property subject to federal control, including timberland, farmland, and innumerable waterbodies and other private lands. Finalizing the rule would allow the federal government to govern virtually any activity impacting an area where water flows, which means federal government permits would be required for all sorts of routine activities - including installing a playground in a backyard or extending a driveway - and would provide a new litigation tool for far-left environmentalists to attack private citizens and businesses. The public comment period for WOTUS ends on November 14th.
Last week Vitter joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in leading 24 Senators in requesting the EPA and the Corps to withdraw the proposed rule. Click here to read more. Vitter is also a lead co-sponsor of the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014 (S. 2496), which would prevent the Obama Administration from finalizing this rule or any similar proposal.
In September, Vitter penned an op-ed in The Hill entitled, "Drowning our property rights: EPA's misuse of the Clean Water Act." In August, Vitter hosted a field briefing in New Orleans, Louisiana to examine the potential impacts of the proposed WOTUS rule.
Ozone NAAQS: Shutting Down Power Plants Across the Country
The EPA is in the process of reviewing the ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) and is required under a court-ordered deadline to propose the revised standard in December, likely reducing the current standard to a range within 70 to 60 parts per billion (ppb). Setting the standard at 60ppb would place almost the entire country in violation, including Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon. The potential impacts of a lower ozone standard include a reduction in GDP of $270 billion per year and lost jobs averaging 2.9 million per year. In addition, a lower ozone standard will result in increased natural gas and electricity costs for American families and manufacturers.
Vitter has been urging CASAC and EPA in a series of letters to conduct the ozone NAAQS review process in a transparent manner, including the need to address error corrections and risk data errors in the scientific assessments used. In August, Vitter held two field briefings in Louisiana to analyze the potential impacts of the current review of the ozone NAAQS.
ESPS: Federal Takeover of the American Electricity System
The EPA's proposed existing source performance standard (ESPS) rule to capture or otherwise reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants would force States to implement renewable portfolio standards or a cap-and-trade system to replace fossil-fuel energy, whether they like it or not. As proposed, the rule would result in higher electricity bills, a decrease in a family's disposable income, and job losses throughout the economy all for no tangible impact on global climate. The proposal makes a number of assumptions, misdirects, and glosses over the Agency's attempt to take over the role of State governments and public utility commissions, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The proposed rule goes beyond plain reading of the Clean Air Act Section 111, instead directing States to achieve questionable emission reduction targets from a limited menu of economically-damaging and legally questionable "options." It will also increase costs to American families, schools, hospitals, and businesses.
Vitter recently released emails between top EPA officials and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which demonstrate the very close working relationship between the two organizations to develop the Agency's recently proposed carbon rule for existing power plants. Click here to read more.
Earlier this year, Vitter led 41 Republican Senators in requesting the President withdraw the proposed rule. Click here to read more.