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 hearing entitled, "Federal Efforts to Protect Public Health by Reducing Diesel Emissions."

Thursday, May 12, 2011 2:30 pm

Senator Carper, thank you for holding this hearing.

Today's hearing touches on one of the few EPA programs that has bipartisan support.  The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, a voluntary grant and loan program designed to reduce diesel emissions from our nation's "legacy fleet," was first passed as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was reauthorized last Congress by voice vote in both chambers.  The President signed legislation reauthorizing DERA in the last days of the 111th Congress.

In this context there is great irony in the President's call to strip the program of all funding for the upcoming fiscal year.  This is a classic bait-and-switch -a tactic which this President and this EPA are making routine practice.  You see, the President knows that Congress will restore the funding.  So the move allows him to appear fiscally responsible, knowing full well that the program will continue. 

But this move also diverts attention from the other, more problematic programs and regulations where EPA is aggressively moving forward - and with no regard for our nation's fiscal and economic well-being. 

Senator Carper, it is in these other areas that this Committee should focus its time. 

Take, for example, what's happening with greenhouse gas regulation.  Implementation of EPA's cap-and-trade agenda will have ruinous consequences for our economy, with some estimates as high as $400 Billion in lost GDP.  These costs come despite the fact that, as Administrator Jackson has confirmed, these rules by themselves will have no impact on reducing global greenhouse gas concentrations.  Yet despite what's at stake, this committee has had no oversight hearings on the design or implementation of EPA's GHG rules since they took effect this year.

Another area of great concern is EPA's torrent of rules covering the electric power sector.  EPA is set to roll out a suite of rules that will significantly affect the price and availability of electricity for citizens across the U.S., including, among others, its Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule, the Transport Rule, and new requirements for fly ash and cooling water.  These rules, taken together with the agency's greenhouse gas requirements, could cost families and businesses over $300 Billion by 2015 according to a recent analysis by ICF International and the Edison Electric Institute. 

But even with an estimated 60 to 100 GW of our nation's coal-fired electric generating capacity on the line, and reports that the agency's MACT proposal is fraught with technical errors and miscalculations, this committee has called no oversight hearings.

EPA's recently finalized rules governing emissions from industrial and commercial boilers (Boiler MACT) are an example of an agency making a complete debacle of the rulemaking process.  In this case, the agency has finalized rules that directly threaten both small and large businesses-as well as municipalities, universities and federal facilities - due to impractical, costly regulatory requirements. An analysis from Global Insight estimates the rule could put up to 798,250 jobs at risk and reduce U.S. GDP by as much as $1.2 billion. To date, this committee has had no hearings on these rules. 

Indeed, the enormous amount of energy that EPA expended in 2010 jamming through its cap-and-trade agenda-a program that was not statutorily required by the CAA and was discretionary on EPA's part - left the agency with insufficient resources to accomplish its main statutorily required tasks.  For example, had the agency not tried to do too much at once, it would have had time to correct errors in its Utility MACT proposal that reportedly resulted in proposed standards that are off by a factor of 1000.

Other examples of an agency out of control include the ozone NAAQS reconsideration: a potentially $670 billion hit to GDP; the Cement MACT: $3.4 billion in compliance costs and the potential to shut down 17 plants across the country.  These and a variety of other rules in the pipeline - widely and aptly acknowledged as the "EPA Train Wreck"--all point to an agency in pursuit of an ideological agenda with little regard for the costs and practical complications of its rules. 

I do appreciate today's hearing.  But today I call on you, Senator Carper, and Senator Boxer, to fulfill this committee's oversight obligations by taking an in-depth look at EPA's "Train Wreck" and what it will mean for jobs, energy security, consumers, manufacturers, small businesses, and economic growth.