Edicts from the Imperial EPA: Yes, They Will Hurt Small Business

Released as it was on December 23, this letter from the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration to the Environmental Protection Agency received too little attention. The letter, submitted as a comment on the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases from industry sources (the tailoring rule), provides a clear example of where the EPA is cutting corners in its drive to reshape the U.S. economy.

Excerpt from the letter:

EPA has certified that the GHG Tailoring Rule, along with two interrelated rules that will result in the federal regulation of greenhouse gases for the first time, will not have a significant economic impact upon a substantial number of small entities.  We disagree.

As discussed below, whether viewed separately or together, it is clear that EPA’s Clean Air Act greenhouse gas rules will significantly affect a large number of small entities.  EPA was therefore obligated under the Regulatory Flexibility Act to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (or Panels) prior to proposing these rules.  By failing to do so, EPA also lost its best opportunity to learn how its new greenhouse gas rules would actually affect small businesses, small communities and small non-profit associations.  These small entities are concerned that EPA has not adequately considered regulatory alternatives that could achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions without imposing heavy new compliance burdens on large numbers of small entities.

The letter sites examples of affected entities:

  • More than 100 small brick manufacturers;
  • 400-500 small foundries;
  • 150 small pulp and paper mills;
  • Over 100 small coal mines;
  • 80 small lime manufacturers;
  • 350 small municipal utilities;
  • More than 40 small electric cooperatives; and
  • At least 16 small petroleum refineries.
  • The economic impact aside, the most important message in the letter from this official advocacy panel is that the EPA is ignoring the law, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, that requires an assessment of the impact of such a rule on small business. That’s the kind of thing we’re referring to when we call the agency the Imperial EPA.

    This letter a great topic for hearings by the House and Senate Small Business Committees.

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