House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled their latest assault on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Republicans on the Appropriations Committee announced a 2012 spending bill that includes a policy rider preventing the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants and refineries for one year.
The bill also includes other policy riders that would limit EPA authority and stop important environmental protections.
These include provisions to:
- ease air pollution standards and speed up permitting for offshore drilling
- block the EPA from regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste
- prevent challenges to EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board
- prevent new regulations protecting streams from mountaintop removal mining
- block improvements to the Clean Water Act
The bill is the latest salvo in an ongoing budget battle between Republicans and Democrats.
Republicans continue to insist the Obama Administration’s EPA is overstepping its authority and harming economic recovery.
However, a study released last week by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shows the benefits of EPA oversight have far outweighed the costs over the past decade – particularly in respect to air pollution.
32 major EPA rules issued over the last ten years will lead to estimated benefits of $82 billion to $551 billion in 2001 dollars compared to costs of $23 billion to $29 billion.
The Republican 2012 budget plan strips $1.8 billion from the agency’s current funding level of $8.7 billion.
An Appropriations subcommittee is expected to vote today on the bill, which also reduces funding for wastewater and drinking-water infrastructure, and for cleanup programs for the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.
EPA Head At the Center of Firestorm
EPA head Lisa Jackson is under tremendous pressure as she leads the Obama administration’s attempt to impose tough new environmental regulations going into a a re-election year.
The New York Times writes about the political landscape as she prepares to move forward on regulations for smog, mercury, carbon dioxide, mining waste and vehicle emissions over the next few months:
No other cabinet officer is in as lonely or uncomfortable a position as Ms. Jackson, who has been left, as one adviser put it, behind enemy lines with only science, the law and a small band of loyal lieutenants to support her.
Read more here: