Tuesday, November 08, 2011

White House On Sen. Paul's Effort To Roll Back CSAPR

Nov 7: Heather Zichal the White House Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change pushed back strongly at the at the efforts of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to roll back EPA recently promulgated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The final Transport Rule was published on August 8, 2011 [See WIMS 7/7/11] and on October 6, U.S. EPA signed a proposed rule, seeking comment on significant revisions to the final Transport Rule [See WIMS 10/7/11].

    Zichal said, "President Obama believes that American families should never be asked to choose between the health of their children and the health of the economy. That is a false choice. Four decades of success under the Clean Air Act have shown clearly that strong environmental protections and a strong economy can go hand in hand. To build on the tremendous success of the Clean Air Act, the Obama Administration has taken the most significant steps in a generation to reduce harmful pollution and promote public health. The new standards that we have issued or proposed -- to curb interstate pollution, reduce mercury exposure, and make our cars more fuel efficient, just to name a few -- will result in significant economic and health benefits each year."

    Zichal recounts that, "Just over forty years ago, the Senate did something that would be almost unthinkable today: It passed major legislation by a unanimous vote. That legislation was the Clean Air Act of 1970, signed by President Richard Nixon. Two decades later, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 were passed, again with large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, and signed by President George H. W. Bush." 

    Zichal said, "But today, Republicans in Congress are trying to use our current economic climate as an excuse to roll back clean air protections that Americans have counted on for decades. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is currently leading an effort to block the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) that would save tens of thousands of lives each year. In doing so, Senator Paul is using the Congressional Review Act to repeal this important rule and prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting American families from cross-state pollution in the future." In January 2010, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), attempted to use the Congressional Review Act procedure to stop U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act [See WIMS 1/22/10].

    Zichal said, "Let's be clear -- this brazen effort doesn't just undermine the public health, it also undermines the judgment of the courts. In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit found critical flaws in the Bush Administration's efforts on interstate air pollution and directed the EPA to issue a replacement rule as quickly as possible. After seeking and incorporating extensive input from the public, the states, environmental and public health groups, as well as industry, the EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution rule in July of this year."

    Zichal posted additional information on the CSAPR and the EPA estimated benefits of 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths as well as other health benefits and said "the benefits of this rule are expected to far outweigh its costs, producing over $100 billion in net benefits each year."

    Senator Paul filed his disapproval resolution (S.J.Res.27) on September 8, 2011, pursuant to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Upon introduction, a disapproval resolution is referred to the committee of jurisdiction, which in this case will be the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). If the committee does not favorably report the resolution, it may be discharged upon petition by 30 Senators. Once a disapproval resolution is placed on the Senate calendar, it is then subject to expedited consideration on the Senate floor, and not subject to filibuster and only needs a majority to pass. S.J.Res.27 was placed on Senate Legislative Calendar on November 3, 2011, and is on the Calendar of Business for today (November 8).   

    Today (November 8) the Office of Management & Budget issued an official Statement of Administration Policy saying, "If the President is presented with S.J.Res. 27, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the resolution." According to the statement, "The Administration strongly opposes S.J.Res.27, which would overturn a core Clean Air Act (CAA) rule that limits pollution that travels long distances and contributes to soot and smog in downwind States. By blocking this rule, S.J.Res.27 would cause substantial harm to public health and undermine our Nation's longstanding commitment to clean up pollution from power plants. . .
    "S.J.Res. 27 would undermine this progress by blocking the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which would reduce harmful air pollution from power plants that threatens the health of downwind communities, especially the health of children, seniors, and other vulnerable populations. The CSAPR responds to a 2008 court decision directing EPA to replace the prior Administration's rule with a new rule to address the transport of air pollution across State boundaries. . . S.J.Res.27 would overturn this rule, jeopardize these public health and economic benefits, and perpetuate uncertainty for businesses, freezing investments in clean technologies."

    Access the complete blog post including links to Senator Paul's resolution and related information (click here). Access legislative details for S.J.Res.27 (click here). Access the November 8, Senate Calendar of Business (click here). Access the OMB veto statement (click here). [#Air]