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Committee Examines President’s Rushed ‘Midnight Regulations’

Feb 10, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to examine executive branch overreach surrounding regulations that are often rushed through toward the end of a presidential administration, commonly referred to as “midnight regulations.” Witnesses discussed proposed regulations by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Despite heavy and growing public opposition, the Obama administration is actively willing to commit the U.S. to costly new regulations that will do nothing to improve the environment but will negatively impact economic growth.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The Court’s ruling confirms that this rule overreaches EPA's authority. But nothing seems to deter President Obama from achieving his extreme and unconstitutional climate agenda. Now the president plans to rush through even more regulations. The DOE now works to issue costly energy efficiency rules on everything from household appliances to vending machines, including ceiling fans, air conditioning and heating equipment, and residential boilers.

“These proposed regulations will have an even greater adverse impact on those who live on fixed incomes, such as the elderly and the poor, who are the most vulnerable to increases in the price for basic necessities like electricity and heat. More should be done to hold this administration accountable. We must cut regulatory red tape and put America back on a path to growth and prosperity.”

Video of the Chairman’s full statement is available HERE.

In 2015, the Obama administration finalized some of the most broad environmental regulations in the history of the United States – the Waters of the United States, the Clean Power Plan, and Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In the final year of this administration, EPA is already undertaking a number of new rules that will have broad ranging impacts on the energy producing sector. DOE has also seen an increase in promulgated regulations during the Obama administration.

Witnesses today said that the speed at which these regulations are being finalized provides little certainty that these rules are based on a sound and transparent review of the underlying scientific data and analysis.

In the past year, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed 15 new energy efficiency standards, compared with just five energy efficiency standards proposed between 2009 and 2012.  DOE is now working to issue costly energy efficiency rules on everything from household appliances to vending machines, including ceiling fans, air conditioning and heating equipment, and residential boilers. 

According to the American Action Forum (AAF), regulatory costs topped $197 billion in 2015. This is a cost of over $600 for every American citizen. For 2016 alone, the Obama administration has proposed another $98 billion in regulatory costs. 

Last week, the Speaker selected the Science Committee to help lead a taskforce to reduce costly and unnecessary regulatory burdens.

The following witness testified today:

Ms. Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Mr. Jerry Bosworth, President, Bosworth Air Conditioning

Ms. Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy

Mr. Sam Batkins, Director of Regulator Policy, American Action Forum

For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the hearing webcast, please visit the Committee’s website.

114th Congress