Press Release from Senator Roy Blunt

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson regarding the economic impact of the EPA’s burdensome and costly regulations.

The Following Remarks Were Submitted For The Record:

“Last month the federal government added as much money to the debt as it did in all of 2007. The numbers are stark and serve as a call for immediate action. All across Missouri and the country, Americans at home and at work are expected to do more with less, and now the federal government must do the same.

“Unfortunately, the EPA – like the rest of the Administration – is avoiding the necessary cuts that we all need to be making to address our skyrocketing debt. To make matters worse, EPA is using taxpayer dollars to impose costly and burdensome regulations that could severely impact jobs, our economy and the cost of everything we do or buy.

“EPA has issued, or plans to issue at least five different rules placing mandates on the electric power industry; seven different rules that would affect industry and manufacturing as a whole; and seven different rules that would be especially burdensome on our farmers.

“Not to mention that EPA’s greenhouse gas rules and national ambient air quality rules will affect the nation as a whole. In short, no one is spared under this new regulatory regime.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk. EPA’s actions will impose additional expenses to businesses, creating a severe competitive disadvantage for our job creators. Moving our industries and jobs overseas spells disaster for our economy seeking to rebound from a recession.

“There is no shortage of industries and organizations that have come out against EPA’s actions. Whether its labor unions, or an independent corporation tasked with making sure our energy is reliable; it is lost on no one that these regulations will spell economic disaster. The cumulative effect of EPA’s air rules alone will affect energy prices – and this touches all of us, impacting manufacturing, jobs, and innovation.

“Administrator Jackson, I have often heard you tout the many benefits of cleaner air and water, outweighing any other costly effects that these regulations bring. I think we all can agree that cleaning up and protecting our environment are important goals. However the Obama Administration is using the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other laws more like sledgehammers against private sector job creators than tools to achieve environmental benefits.

“For instance, EPA is stretching the limits of its New Source Review authority to punish Ameren Corporation, a Missouri utility, for making efficiency upgrades to a coal-fired power plant that serves many Missourians’ power. EPA is requiring Ameren to undergo new and costly environmental reviews for improvements made almost a decade ago to their plant in order to enable them to switch to low-sulfur coal. This is an example of EPA attempting to achieve what the President couldn’t through cap-and-trade legislation, and that is to phase out the use of coal in this country.

“In my state alone, a state where coal is responsible for more than 80 percent of electricity production, it’s estimated that the House cap-and-trade bill would cause our electricity bills to double in ten years. Ms. Jackson, let me put it simply: cap-and-trade has been flatly rejected by the United States Senate.

“The Clean Air Act is even being used to try and tell farmers how much dust they’re allowed to create while growing the country’s food. You’re regulating dust? ‘Fugitive dust?’ It’s no wonder the American people think we’ve totally lost our minds here.

“Meanwhile, under the Clean Water Act, EPA is attempting to impose nationwide mandates on the Agricultural community, hamstringing their ability to safely and efficiently discharge some of their agricultural byproducts. Whether its limits on the amount of nutrients like phosphate that can be discharged into waters, or so called ‘pollution diets’ like that proposed in the Chesapeake Bay rule, these rules will impose millions of dollars on growers and cattlemen.

“I hope that you take a hard look at the multitude of rules that threaten the economic viability of our country’s energy, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. Administrator Jackson, I look forward to your testimony, so we can get serious about recovering once and for all from the recession.”