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Smith: EPA Overreach Diminishes U.S. Competitiveness

Jun 4, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to examine the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent regulatory agenda, including the lack of scientific and technical justification for regulations and their impact on American competitiveness. Witnesses focused on three specific proposals: the Clean Power Plan, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone, and the Waters of the United States, recently rebranded the “Clean Water Rule” by EPA.

Chairman Smith: “These rules will cost billions of dollars, place a heavy burden on American families and diminish the competitiveness of American industry around the world. The so-called Clean Power Plan is a power grab that will force states to reach arbitrary and often impossible targets for carbon emissions. The EPA also seeks to impose stricter ozone standards that analysis conducted by EPA shows would cost at least $15 billion annually. Once again, these costs come with few benefits.

“Last week, the EPA submitted its final rule to define the ‘Waters of the United States.’ As many had predicted, EPA has claimed unprecedented jurisdiction over many different kinds of water, including those that temporarily result from a ‘drizzle’ and areas that are not always filled with water. Under this regulatory regime, Americans will be subject to required permits and the constant threat of government intervention. The onslaught of EPA regulations continues.”

Witnesses today stressed that these EPA rules will have significant legal and economic implications for the American people. The final “Waters of the United States” rule released last week represents a tremendous expansion of EPA jurisdiction with regard to the Clean Water Act.

EPA asserts that the Clean Power Plan will help combat climate change.  However, EPA’s own data shows that this regulation would eliminate much less than one percent of global carbon emissions and would reduce sea level rise by only 1/100th of an inch, the thickness of three sheets of paper. 

EPA also seeks to impose stricter ozone standards by lowering the standard from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to between 65-70 ppb.  But witnesses today raised concerns that EPA has failed to allow its independent science advisors to fully analyze the impacts of this rule by limiting the scope of the analysis. Witnesses said that EPA has ignored its responsibility to assist the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) in fulfilling its responsibility to advise the Administrator “of any adverse public health, welfare, social, economic, or energy effects” which may result from lowering ozone standards.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report requested by Chairman Smith that reiterates these concerns, finding that EPA limited CASAC from conducting full reviews and providing complete scientific advice, as required by law.

The following witnesses testified today:

Mr. Bill Kovacs, Senior Vice President, Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Bob Kerr, President, Kerr Environmental Services Corp.

Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, FAAP Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee

Mr. Ross Eisenberg, Vice President, Energy and Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers

For more information on the hearing, including witness testimony and a link to archived webcast, visit the Committee website.

114th Congress