This morning, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a report that uncovers a biased, politicized and troubling process for examining scientific evidence at the Environmental Protection Agency. The 67-page report, conducted by committee staff, finds that the key scientific building blocks of almost all recent major EPA regulations were arrived at through a process that routinely shut down scientific debate, ignored the advice of subject matter experts and consistently elevated the concerns of policy staff over those of the Agency’s own scientists. And the consequences of this flawed process could not be more startling: these scientific studies have been the backbone of almost every controversial (and expensive) new regulation issued by EPA in recent years, from Utility MACT to Boiler MACT to PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These are the regulations that threaten to make manufacturing less competitive, and we’re now learning that EPA’s process for crafting them may have been fatally flawed.
The report comes less than two weeks before a meeting of EPA’s scientific advisory panel, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), where CASAC members are set to debate and ultimately recommend what the level should be for new Ozone NAAQS. CASAC’s last Ozone recommendation resulted in a regulation that by EPA’s own calculations would cost $90 billion per year. That’s billion with a “b”. And the report indicates that the same flawed scientific conclusions that poisoned the Utility MACT, Boiler MACT and PM2.5 NAAQS will be the drivers of a strict new Ozone standard.
EPA’s new Ozone NAAQS have the potential to be the most expensive regulations ever leveled against manufacturers. Done the wrong way, these regulations would strand massive amounts of capital, bringing U.S. manufacturing growth to a standstill. Manufacturers would become less competitive, and when that happens, we all lose.
With so much at stake, it is critical that the new Ozone regulations be done right. The Obama Administration has committed itself to using the most transparent, scientifically sound process for issuing new regulations. Today’s report makes clear that the system is broken. Manufacturers call on the Administration to pause the Ozone NAAQS review until it can properly evaluate the process by which scientific decisions are made and correct the flaws uncovered by today’s report.