Clean Air Act

Local Governments Weigh In on Proposed Ozone Standards

By | Energy | No Comments

The outcry over the EPA’s proposed ground-level ozone standards continues with representatives of the nation’s mayors, counties, cities and regions adding their voices to the debate in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy this week.

In the letter dated March 17, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, and National Association of Regional Councils, detail the impact the most expensive rule in U.S. history will have on local governments.  These four organizations collectively represent 19,000 cites and mayors, 3,069 counties and over 500 regional councils. Read More

EPA Shows Regulatory Restraint – But Will It Last?

By | Economy, Regulations | No Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it would retain the current secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx). Under the Clean Air Act, secondary standards are established to protect the environment from certain emissions where primary standards are established to protect human health. The EPA noted in its fact sheet on the final rule that the independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) had recommended preserving the current standard based on its review of the available science.

NOx and SOx emissions come from a variety of natural and man-made sources including cars, trucks, buses, power plants, industrial facilities, waste incineration and agricultural sources. The fact sheet also stated that, “since 1980, levels of NOx and SOx in the air have fallen by more than 50 percent and more than 80 percent, respectively.” The resulting decrease has helped mitigate the impact of acid rain or acid deposition on the environment.

We are pleased that the EPA decided to maintain the current standards, but we urge caution as the Agency works to develop a new “multipollutant standard” for NOx and SOx that will also address acid rain deposition. Manufacturers have made great strides to reduce air emissions, and the last thing we need in this tough economy is another overly stringent standard that will do little to improve the environment.

Manufacturers Urge the EPA to Reconsider the Problematic Boiler Rules

By | Regulations | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers and ten other trade associations today filed a reconsideration petition on the Boiler MACT suite of rules, urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “get it right” on the rules affecting the largest emitting boilers (MACT), smaller emitting boilers (GACT) and the solid waste incinerator (CISWI) portions of the regulation.* The petition highlights specific problems with the achievability of the rule that are still of major concern to manufacturers. If unresolved, these damaging provisions will hurt manufacturers’ competitiveness causing additional job loss in today’s tough economy.

 Specifically, these issues include:

  • the establishment of dioxin/furan emission limits that relied on a small amount of data that are largely below detection limits;
  • the achievability of many of the new source limits, the solid fuel particulate matter, CO, and dioxin/furan new source limits; and
  • improperly revised definitions which could reclassify boilers – already subject to MACT standards – as solid waste incineration units.

 In addition to this reconsideration petition, the NAM and other manufacturing groups also submitted a Petition for Administrative Stay  on April 27 which urges the EPA to stop the rule from taking effect while the reconsideration process continues. The stay, if granted, would provide manufacturers with the certainty they need to make business decisions pending the final outcome of the reconsideration of the rule.

* MACT – Maximum Achievable Control Technology

GACT – Generally Achievable Control Technology

CISWI – Commerical / Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators


EPA Regulation: Consumers Also Feel the Higher Energy Costs

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, appeared in studio Wednesday on WLS’s morning drive-time program in Chicago, the “Don Wade and Roma Show.” A good interview with informed hosts that touched on several items including Illinois’ business climate, U.S. competitiveness, taxes and the pending Senate vote to block EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases.

From the discussion of the latter (audio clip):

Timmons: The NAM is supporting the McConnell bill because it’s very definitive. It says the EPA cannot regulate greenhouse gases, and then Congress can then come back and create a law that would allow them to do that or do it in a way that Congress dictates.

Roma: It had originally been in Congress’ purview, and then the EPA did an end-run around when it ran into balky congressional leaders, right?

: Well, that’s exactly right. A couple of years ago there was a bill that was on the House floor to regulate greenhouse gases, and it did pass the House, it stalled in the Senate. So Congress actually said, no, we’re not going to allow the regulation of greenhouse gases. And now you have the EPA saying, well, if Congress isn’t going to do it, we’re going to do it. So, hey, that’s a fun job to have.

Don Wade
: The reason we don’t want the EPA to tighten the screws on regulation on greenhouse gases is that it will increase the cost to manufacturers’ stuff. That stuff then will cost you, the consumer, more. It’s like a tax, only it’s not a tax. It’s a hidden tax.

Timmons: It’s a hidden tax that does raise the costs of all energy inputs into manufacturing. Manufacturing uses 30 percent of all the energy consumed in the United States to create those goods that you’re talking about that consumers buy. So you have one of two things happen. You either raise the costs of goods or manufacturers simply can’t compete, so jobs are lost.

And the other part of this is, it’s not just manufacturing. Somebody says, “Ah, let business pay,” well, this is also the consumer. This is also the retired…these are my retired parents, who are trying to pay their heating and cooling bill. And if you look at gas prices today, I don’t think anybody wants to pay more for energy costs.

WLS has posted audio of the full 12-minute interview here.

As the Senate Vote Nears on EPA Overregulation…

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers is running TV and radio spots urging Senators to vote for the amendment sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to prevent the attempt of the Environmental Protection Agency to extend its control over the U.S. economy through its regulation of greenhouse gases.

The ads are available at the campaign’s website: www.nonewregs.org.

The NAM just sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging Senators to vote for the McConnell amendment and opposing two alternative amendments that fail to achieve the desired goal: Protecting the U.S. economy, manufacturers and workers from costs of EPA overregulation. The amendments may provide a modicum of political cover, but they simply extend the uncertainty that threatens the U.S. economic recovery.

As NAM President Jay Timmons wrote in a blog post at The Hill, “A choice: Recovery or regulator?“:

Manufacturers have been proved a bright spot during the U.S. recovery, making new investments, hiring thousands of employees every week, and exporting more than other sectors of the economy. Yet uncertainty compels the companies to practice caution, holding off investments until it’s clear just how much control over the economy the EPA will wield.

When Senators vote on the McConnell amendment this week, they will be choosing between a private-sector led recovery and the uncertainty and costs threatened by an unrestrained regulator, the EPA. Manufacturers ask that the Senators embrace the recovery by voting for the McConnell amendment.

More …

Read More

Only McConnell Amendment Limits Economic Risk from EPA Regs

By | Energy, General, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

The National Association of Manufacturers just distributed a letter to U.S. Senators urging their vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amendment to block the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases. The letter also expresses opposition to two other amendments that threaten to deflect attention from the clear issue facing the U.S. Senate: Whether the EPA should circumvent the policymaking branch of government, Congress, to extend its regulatory authority over carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the detriment of the U.S. economy, manufacturers, and workers.

The NAM letters comes from Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations. Text:

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states, urges your support for legislation that will prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources. To that end, the NAM key-voted Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Energy Tax Prevention Act amendment (No. 183) to the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493).This amendment would stop EPA regulations that are costing jobs and hurting our nation’s economic recovery.
In addition, two other amendments that address GHG regulations were offered to S. 493 by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) (No. 236) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) (No. 215). While manufacturers appreciate the efforts of Sens. Baucus and Rockefeller, unfortunately, their amendments do not solve many problems associated with the EPA’s GHG regulations and provide little regulatory certainty for our nation’s job creators. Read More

Manufacturers: Support McConnell Amendment to Restrain EPA

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | 2 Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers this afternoon sent a “Key Vote” letter to the U.S. Senators supporting an amendment by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Sen. McConnell has proposed the Energy Tax Limitation Amendment to S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act, being debated on the Senate floor now.

Excerpt from the NAM letter:

At a time when our economy is attempting to recover from the most severe recession since the 1930s, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, with no guidance from Congress, will establish disincentives for the long-term investments necessary to grow jobs and expedite economic recovery. The McConnell Amendment seeks to ensure a healthy and productive discussion in Congress on harmonizing our nation’s energy, environmental and economic needs before EPA regulates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary sources, including manufacturing facilities.

Manufacturers support a comprehensive, federal climate policy within a framework that will cause no economic harm while granting sufficient time to deploy low-carbon technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration, renewable energy and a renewed and large-scale deployment of nuclear power plants.

Sen. McConnell explained the amendment in floor remarks earlier today. (Text and video) A separate news release from his office presented the remarks of 15 Senate Democrats criticizing the EPA’s overreach.

Key vote letters are developed by a committee made up of manufacturers of all sizes and are used to rate a members’ support for manufacturing during a session of Congress.

Also this afternoon, the full House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 34-19 to report out H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which has the same language as the McConnell amendment. In the portion of the committee discussion we watched online, Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) spoke about the damaging impact EPA regulation of greenhouse gases would have on manufacturing and manufacturing jobs. We thank him.

P.S. Three Democrats joined the House Republicans on the committee in voting for the bill: Reps. Barrow (GA), Matheson (UT), and Ross (AR).

Resisting the Imperial EPA’s Overregulation of the Economy

By | General | No Comments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee meets at 10 a.m. this morning to mark up and presumably vote out  H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The National Association of Manufacturers sent an e-mail letter to committee members Monday urging them to vote yes. Excerpt of the e-mail, signed by Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations:

This legislation prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA). It would also allow the EPA to regulate mobile source GHG emissions for model years 2012-2016 but would prevent regulation during subsequent years.

Manufacturers face tremendous uncertainty as the EPA and state permitting authorities begin the implementation process of regulating GHG emissions from stationary sources. Though the EPA is currently regulating the largest new and modified facilities, it has announced that it will start regulating existing power plants and refineries in the near future. Manufacturers use one-third of our nation’s energy, and burdensome regulations on these facilities will increase manufacturers’ energy costs, hindering our competitiveness. Furthermore, as many as six million industrial facilities, power plants, hospitals, agricultural and commercial establishments eventually will be subject to regulation under the CAA.

This legislation is needed to stem the tide of the EPA’s overreach and give our nation’s job creators the assurance they need to expand their businesses and put Americans back to work.

The Wall Street Journal editorializes today in support of the bill, which would have policy set by the policymaking branch of government, Congress. From “Carbon and Democracy: Congress gets ready to overrule the EPA on cap and trade rules“:

The bill, which the committee will likely approve today and the House will likely pass later this spring, would restore the plain regulatory meaning that “pollutant” held for decades until the EPA decided in 2009 that all of a sudden it also applied to carbon. John Dingell helped write the Clean Air Act and its 1990 revision, and the Michigan Democrat has repeatedly said that neither was ever meant to address climate.

Other critics of the EPA’s carbon agenda include Senate Democrats like West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller and Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, neither of whom is otherwise known for business sympathies. But they understand that the EPA is about to unleash an economy-wide deluge of new rules and mandates that is already costly and destructive, and it has barely begun.

Right. The EPA has attempted to spin the expansion of its regulatory control over the economy as only a limited spate of regulation over heavy emitters such as refineries and coal-fired power plants. But, even the EPA concedes that those limits represent just the first stage of its control over carbon dioxide, the inevitable by-product of all human economic activity.

EPA’s ‘Analysis’ of Clean Air Act Casts Doubt on Regulatory Review

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

In President Obama’s Executive Order, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” he instructed executive branch agencies to begin retrospective analyses of their existing regulations. The goal is to determine whether rules “may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.”

For that process to have any value, agencies must undertake it in good faith and engage in serious self-scrutiny. Unfortunately, bureaucracies are usually more interested in justifying their existence and activities, and the regulatory review is likely to be misused for that purpose.

The Environmental Protection Agency recent “analysis” of the benefits of the Clean Air Act provides a clear case in point. Last week the agency issued a news release, “EPA Report Underscores Clean Air Act’s Successful Public Health Protections/Landmark law saved 160,000 lives in 2010 alone“:

WASHINGTON – A report released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the benefits of reducing fine particle and ground level ozone pollution under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments will reach approximately $2 trillion in 2020 while saving 230,000 people from early death in that year alone. The report studied the effects of the Clean Air Act updates on the economy, public health and the environment between 1990 and 2020.

Diane Katz at the Heritage Foundation delves into the flawed assumptions, methodological gimmicks, and general spinning in a Webmemo, “Coming Clean on Regulatory Costs and Benefits“:

The report is astonishing for a variety of reasons—not the least of which is the enormous discrepancy between the Obama Administration’s numbers and those of a similar previous study by the Clinton Administration EPA, which pegged the economic benefits of the act to be $170 billion (or 91 percent less than the Obama EPA’s estimates). This magnitude of difference is explained by the unreliable assumptions underlying the Obama EPA’s wildly inflated claims.

Nevertheless, newspaper headlines across the country—and throughout the blogosphere—trumpeted the new cost–benefit calculation as proving regulation to be unquestionably beneficial. The media’s lack of scrutiny is particularly troublesome because, in this instance, the EPA is evaluating itself. Indeed, for every step beyond the agency’s press release, the questionable methodology and leaps of logic are painfully obvious.

As Katz summarizes: “The benefit estimates in the report range from $250 million to $5.7 trillion—a vast difference that indicates vast uncertainty about the EPA’s claims.” This from an Administration that has pledged itself to “sound science.”

Today’s  Washington Examiner reports that Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are holding the EPA to account, working to stop the agency from exceeding its authority and misusing the Clean Air Act to establish a national regime of greenhouse gas regulation. The committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee holds two hearings this week that offer an opportunity to examine the EPA’s activities, including ginned-up analyses: Tuesday on Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations, and Friday on the EPA’s budget.

For now, the EPA’s report suggests the limits of the Administration’s regulatory review:

  • White House to agencies: Go back and review all your old regulations.
  • Agencies to White House: Wow! They’re so much better than we ever thought!

EPA Wants More Time on Boiler MACT Rule

By | Energy, Regulations | No Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a press release today that it filed for an extension in federal court for the final issuance of rules establishing stricter emissions limits for large and small boilers, solid waste incinerators and process heaters (“Boiler MACT”). The Agency was under a court order to issue the final rules by January 16, 2011, but it is now seeking to extend the deadline until April of 2012. The press release stated “the additional time is needed for the agency to re-propose the rules based on a full assessment of information received since the rules were proposed.”

The EPA has received tremendous pressure to revise the proposed rules from manufacturing groups as well as members of congress. Last week, a group of senators wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and EPA Administrator Jackson urging them to release a Department of Commerce study analyzing the economic impact of the rules.

Should the courts grant the EPA’s request for an extension, manufacturers urge the Agency to continue meeting with the interested parties to ensure that the new emission limits are realistic and affordable. Boilers represent major investments for many companies, and adding unnecessary compliance costs could add to consumer costs in the end.