Friday, October 14, 2011

House Approves H.R.2250 To Delay "Boiler MACT" Rules

Oct 13: The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R.2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act (i.e. Boiler MACT bill) by a vote of 275-142 -- 234 Republicans and 41 Democrats voted for the bill; and 142 Democrats voted against it. The proposal would direct EPA to develop achievable standards affecting non-utility boilers and incinerators and grants additional time for development of and compliance with the rules. The legislation would stay the boiler and incinerator rules and calls for EPA to repropose the rules within 15 months and extend compliance times from 3 to 5 years [See WIMS 6/22/11]. The bill had been scheduled for passage on October 12, but was delayed [See WIMS 10/12/11].
    The House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans issued a release indicating that, "The Obama administration recently issued a series of multi-billion dollar regulations affecting tens of thousands of manufacturing and industrial facilities nationwide. H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, offers a common-sense alternative approach to these rules, providing America's job creators with much-needed regulatory relief." Republicans said the bill, introduced by Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), "will preserve hundreds of thousands of jobs currently at risk from EPA's boiler MACT rules. To protect jobs and produce sensible environmental safeguards, this legislation gives EPA time to re-propose and finalize new rules so that standards and timelines for reducing emissions from industrial boilers and incinerators are achievable for real world facilities."

"H.R. 2250 helps lift the burden of excessive regulations on America's job creators," said Rep. Griffith. "Unreasonable regulations – like the currently written Boiler MACT rules – are threatening jobs across the nation and creating uncertainty for businesses. The investments required by these rules are irreversible. For those businesses that decide to stop producing their product at a particular location, the job losses are also irreversible. The good news here is that excessive regulations are reversible and fixable. H.R. 2250 is an opportunity to fix these regulations and keep the focus on protecting valuable American jobs. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bipartisan jobs legislation soon."

    Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) praised passage of both H.R.2250 and H.R.2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act [See WIMS 10/6/11], which passed the House last week and offers similarly sensible regulatory solutions for cement manufacturers. Rep. Whitfield said, "The passage of these two bills is yet another example of the House's leadership in bringing balance to our environment and energy policies. EPA must consider the consequences on jobs and the economy when they implement new regulations and the passage of the Boiler and Cement MACT bills will provide EPA the time it needs and a framework to propose regulations that have achievable and workable timelines and standards without putting jobs at risk.  These bills protect over 230,000 jobs at risk as a result of the Boiler MACT rules, and at least 19,000 at risk because of the Cement MACT rules, while also ensuring that there is a timeline in place for the agency to issue new regulations to protect health and the environment."
    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement saying H.R.2250 would protect thousands of American jobs from excessive government regulations and is a key part of the Republican jobs plan. He said, "Removing government obstacles to job growth is a key part of the Republican jobs plan. This bipartisan bill protects hundreds of thousands of jobs by stopping excessive new federal regulations on boilers used in factories, colleges, and hospitals across the country. And it forces Washington to go back to the drawing board and develop sensible rules that don't raise prices on families or put thousands of jobs at risk. House leaders have sought common ground with the president on this bipartisan jobs bill, and I hope he'll urge the Senate to quickly pass it and commit to signing it so we can remove yet another government barrier to job growth."
    Speaker Boehner also referenced an October 3, letter from House leaders to President Obama regarding the two bills -- H.R.2250 & H.R.2681. The Members said in part, "The federal government has a responsibility under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce, and there are reasonable regulations that protect our children and help keep our environment clean. But there are also excessive regulations that unnecessarily increase costs for consumers and small businesses, and make it harder for our economy to create jobs. The rules addressed by the bills the House will consider this week are examples of such harmful government excess. . . It is our hope that in the spirit of putting country before party, you will call on the Senate to follow the House in passing these measures, and commit to signing them into law should they reach your desk."
    John Walke, clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on H.R. 2250 said in a statement, "We all lose with this legislation. The latest installment of the tea party's unraveling of the Clean Air Act allows dirty incinerators and industrial boilers to pollute our air with more cancer-causing dioxins, arsenic, mercury and lead. This bill, together with the cement bill and TRAIN Act passed earlier, will sacrifice tens of thousands of lives, pollute the air we breathe, and expose our children, families, and communities to toxic air pollutants that cause asthma, other illnesses and even brain damage in children. Polluters might claim victory but in the end, no one wins."

    Steve Cochran, Vice President of Climate and Air at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) issued a statement saying, "Two weeks ago, they voted to let power plants, the nation's largest source of mercury air emissions, off the hook. Now they've decided to let industrial boilers and cement plants, the nation's second and third largest sources of mercury air emissions, off the hook too -- letting them continue to release mercury, arsenic, chromium, lead and dioxins into the air without limit. It's time Congress stopped pretending that increasing air pollution is an economic policy, or that forcing us to breathe dangerous toxins is a job creation plan. No one benefits when Americans suffer more heart attacks, asthma attacks, birth defects and premature deaths."
    American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Cal Dooley issued a statement saying, "By passing this bipartisan bill, House lawmakers have shown their commitment to effective, achievable emission standards for industrial boilers and heaters affecting 200,000 businesses, institutions and municipalities across the country. We urge the U.S. Senate to quickly approve its version (S.1392), which currently has 35 co-sponsors from both parties. Enactment into law will give EPA time to get the rules right, provide certainty about the rules and compliance deadlines, and enhance business confidence to move ahead with investments, expansions and hiring now. In April, ACC and other groups filed a petition asking EPA for an administrative 'stay' of the boiler emission standards pending reconsideration. While EPA granted the stay, its decision is being challenged in two courts, so legislation is essential."

    The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse issued a statement saying, "During this critical time in our nation's economic recovery, manufacturers simply cannot afford another costly and burdensome regulation that will put 230,000 jobs at risk, according to the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners. The Boiler MACT rule will cost manufacturers more than $14 billion in valuable capital that could be spent on investments to create jobs. Manufacturers thank the House members who stood up today for jobs and voted in support of this important legislation to rein in the EPA. We will continue to work to stop the EPA's aggressive agenda. Today's vote was another step to protect jobs and competitiveness, and we strongly urge the Senate to act on the EPA Regulatory Relief Act as soon as possible."

    Access a release from the Republican Energy & Commerce Committee (click here). Access the statement from Speaker Boehner and link to the letter to the President and related information (click here). Access the statement from NRDC (click here). Access the statement from EDF (click here). Access the statement from ACC and link to related information (click here). Access the statement from NAM (click here). Access the roll call vote (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.2250 including the roll call votes for passage and for all amendments (click here). [#Air] 

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