Tag: Lisa Jackson

Circumnetting Energy, Drilling, the EPA, Administrator Jackson

Washington Post, “EPA chief Lisa Jackson perpetually on Capitol Hill hot seat“:

Republicans say that studies such as one by two manufacturers’ groups projected that 7 million jobs would be lost in the decade beginning in 2020 if their client organizations are forced to pay up to $1 trillion to meet the EPA’s ozone standards, said Alicia Meads, director of energy and resource policy for the National Association of Manufacturers. Meads also cited a study by the Council for Industrial Boiler Owners that said 16,000 jobs would be lost for every $1 billion spent to comply with EPA boiler regulations.

“We consider it an overreach,” Meads said. “This administration has been extremely aggressive in environmental regulations, and it’s very hard for our members to keep up with them.”

Wall Street Journal, “EPA Tangles with New Critic: Labor“:

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration’s environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party’s most reliable supporters: Labor unions.

Several unions with strong influence in key states are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency soften new regulations aimed at pollution associated with coal-fired power plants. Their contention: Roughly half a dozen rules expected to roll out within the next two years could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and damage the party’s 2012 election prospects.

House Energy and Commerce news release, March 8, “Upton, Inhofe Question Process for Reconsidering EPA’s Ozone Standards“: (continue reading…)

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When We Said ‘Jobs’ We Didn’t Mean Coal Jobs. Perish the Thought.

The Associated Press has acquired a report from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement that reveals the Obama Administration’s regulatory plans could wipe out coal-related jobs all across the United States. From “Govt: New rules would cut thousands of coal jobs“:

[The] agency’s preferred rules would impose standards for water quality and restrictions on mining methods that would affect the quality or quantity of streams near coal mines. The rules are supposed to replace Bush-era regulations that set up buffer zones around streams and were aimed chiefly at mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

The proposal — part of a draft environmental impact statement — would affect coal mines from Louisiana to Alaska.

The office, a branch of the Interior Department, estimated that the protections would trim coal production to the point that an estimated 7,000 of the nation’s 80,600 coal mining jobs would be lost. Production would decrease or stay flat in 22 states, but climb 15 percent in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

This latest attack against the No. 1 energy source in the United States aligns with the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke an already approved mining permit for a West Virginia operation. Not just was the EPA demonstrating its hostility toward coal, its caprice undercut the regulatory certainty that employers and investors demand.

Indeed, it’s not too much to say the EPA’s decision undermined the rule of law. The Washington Post published an excellent letter explaining the threat Sunday, “The EPA’s unprecedented reversal on a permit,” by John Sitilides, founder of Trilogy Advisors LLC. (continue reading…)

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The EPA Chimes in on the Health Care Debate

Not satisfied with regulating all manufacturing, transportation, construction, energy and other economic activities, the head of the EPA is now weighing in on health care. The “Statement by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on Today’s Effort in Congress to Repeal the Affordable Care Act“:

This vote would take us back to the days when people could be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions or dropped from their insurance just because they get sick. With reports that asthma is on the rise – especially among children – and causing millions of emergency room and hospital visits each year, as well as tens of millions of missed school and work days, it is critical for our health and our economy that people have access to quality, affordable medical coverage. As the mother of a son with asthma and the head of an agency charged with protecting the health of the American people, it’s disheartening to see this support for a measure that would leave millions of adults and children without access to health coverage and force them to fend for themselves when they get sick.

We anxiously await Steven Chu’s input on HIPAA and Erik Shinseki’s guidance on medical liability reform.

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Which Law Allows to EPA to Single Out Some Industries for Greenhouse Gas Regulation?

The 112th Congress better not try to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases, The New York Times warns not so subtly in its news pages, “E.P.A. Limit on Gases to Pose Risk to Obama and Congress“:

[The] newly muscular Republicans in Congress could also stumble by moving too aggressively to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency, provoking a popular outcry that they are endangering public health in the service of their well-heeled patrons in industry.

“These are hand grenades, and the pins have been pulled,” said William K. Reilly, administrator of the environmental agency under the first President George Bush.

He said that the agency was wedged between a hostile Congress and the mandates of the law, with little room to maneuver. But he also said that anti-E.P.A. zealots in Congress should realize that the agency was acting on laws that Congress itself passed, many of them by overwhelming bipartisan margins.

The final paragraph is a paraphrase of Reilly’s comments, so who knows if he actually used the invidious word “zealots,” but we’ll assume that he did argue that the EPA is acting on a Congressionally passed law.

That’s just not so. The 111th Congress failed to pass the Waxman-Markey bill or any legislation to regulate greenhouse gases. The Clean Air Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA expanded far beyond its original legislative intent, contained no authority for the EPA to single out specific emitters like refineries and power plants for regulatory limits. The EPA’s “tailoring rule” that does so is an obvious tactic meant to ease the adoption of an economy-controlling regulatory regime for which there is neither constitutional nor statutory authority.

If the Times — and the Obama Administration — were so confident of the story’s thesis, the paper wouldn’t have had to grant anonymity* to a senior official on the weakest of grounds: He, or more likely she, feared being criticized. To wit:
(continue reading…)

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Soon-to-be Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) on Obama Administration’s Regulatory Excess

In an interview last week on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, detailed the committee’s plans for action and oversight in the first few months of the 112th Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency’s aggressive agenda of regulatory excess will be a major area of attention. As Upton said, “From the start, we’ve said we’re not going to let this administration regulate what they’re unable to legislate.”

From the transcript, Chairman-elect Upton:

Lisa Jackson, the administrator of EPA, I think she might have testified one time before our committee the last two years. And we made the point of making sure that we don’t know whether we’re going to have to report to the IRS that she’s going to get free parking as a benefit up here on Capitol Hill, but she’s going to be up here a lot more. She’s going to need to defend what EPA is trying to do.

And I will say this. You know, since I talked to you last, EPA had threatened to do these boiler regulations. You know, this is involving, really, most businesses across the country. And we sent some pretty tough letters over the last four, six weeks. And they backed off on them. So that was a good sign.

And as we look at all these regulations that EPA has got their hands in, we’re going to be looking at all of them. And you might remember that as a matter of the Pledge, something that Kevin McCarthy did really good work on, and most Republicans, including myself, embraced this last fall, one of the planks in that was that we want to examine all of the regulations that impose costs that exceed, I want to say, it was $200 million dollars on businesses across the country.

So we’re going to take that up as an issue, and it’s one of the reasons why we’ve assigned Cliff Stearns to be the chairman of the very important subcommittee on oversight and investigations. And I would imagine that they’re going to, and I saw Cliff yesterday, he’s already got about his next three months of hearings, maybe as many as two a week, and beginning to plan out, and EPA’s going to be a part of that. And John Shimkus, too.

Throughout the wide-ranging interview, Upton is politically punctilious about the central role the Energy and Commerce subcommittees and their chairmen will play. He includes the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act as one topic for legislative scrutiny under the newly renamed Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA).

There’s also a brief discussion of John Engler’s move from the National Association of Manufacturers to the Business Roundtable.

Thank you to Hugh Hewitt and his team for producing the transcripts from his show. It’s an extra effort that helps make his show of such valuable for people who follow manufacturing policy.

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For Business to Invest: Along with Taxes, Regulatory Certainty

President Obama is set to make a few comments before his meeting with CEOs this morning at the Blair House. Most of the media previews have highlighted the goal of getting businesses to invest the money they have on their balance sheets, for which the two-year extension of current tax rates should provide some encouragement. Two years is not “certainty,” but it’s better than a tax increase.

We suggest another point of emphasis: Regulatory policy. Something along the lines of …

I know that many of you are burdened by the ever-expanding regulatory agenda that my Executive Branch agencies are pushing, starting with the EPA’s attempt to circumvent Congress through its greenhouse gas regulations. Well, I hope you have taken note of the EPA’s recent bout of restraint, its decision to delay action on ozone regulations and the Boiler MACT rule that will impose billions of dollars of costs on the productive sectors of the economy, those companies that we will need to grow if we are to address the continued high level of unemployment.

The EPA’s pulling back, however modest, is the first evidence of what you will soon see is an Administration-wide commitment to regulatory restraint and reason. You have made your case that our regulatory excess is damaging the economy. And I thank you.

Don’t think it will happen. Even as the President and Treasury Secretary Geithner and other Administration officials are meeting with the nation’s major employers, President Obama’s top environmental officials will be championing their ability to force business to abide by the ambigious, exceedingly flexible, “they are what we say they are,” rules for “environmental justice.”

From WhiteHouse.gov, “Open for Questions: Environmental Justice with CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson“:

Posted by Nancy Sutley on December 14, 2010 at 02:09 PM EST

This Wednesday, December 15, 2010, the Obama Administration is hosting the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice to build on our commitment to ensuring that overburdened and low-income communities have the opportunity to enjoy the health and economic benefits of a clean environment.  At lunch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and I will host a live Facebook chat to answer your questions about the Obama Administration’s work to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all Americans.

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EPA: A Heroic Past Leads the Great People to Revolutionary Victory

The Wall Street Journal today publishes responses to a recent column by Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, hailing the EPA’s 40th anniversary, “The EPA Turns 40.” It’s a splendid collection of letters under the rubric, “The EPA’s Jackson Leaves a Few Holes in Her History,“ including the following from Jay Timmons, executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers:

According to a Heritage Foundation review, 10 major rules came out of the EPA in fiscal 2010 with a cost of more than $23 billion. Is it Ms. Jackson’s contention that these government-imposed costs will not discourage the private sector to invest in new equipment or hire new workers, or that U.S. industry can afford whatever new burdens the government chooses to throw at it?

Consider the most burdensome of these proposals, the EPA’s plan to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s attempt to force the nation off fossil fuels. This plan relies heavily on making energy more expensive. Consumers rein in other spending when their heating and electricity bills go up. Manufacturers, the economy’s largest users of electricity, behave no differently.

Ms. Jackson’s desire to paint the agency’s first 40 years as innovative bliss and economic rapture is understandable. But as the EPA moves into middle age, it’s time for Congress to check its power and conduct the serious oversight of the damage the agency’s agenda is doing to U.S. competitiveness and job creation. America, suffering from continued high unemployment and a fitful economic recovery, cannot afford the EPA’s regulatory excess.

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Circumquacking the Lame Duck

A news roundup, in other words…

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Edmond Sun
, “Obama’s policies stifle economic growth“: “EDMOND — In less than five weeks, tax hikes will go into effect for virtually all tax brackets unless Congress takes action. Despite public and bipartisan support for maintaining the current tax rates, President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress have repeatedly refused to bring the issue to a vote. President Obama insists that his plan to raise taxes on the highest tax brackets will not affect job creators, but the facts indicate otherwise.” The Congressman cites the recent WSJ op-ed by John Engler and Jerry Howard, “Tax Hikes and the Small Business Job Machine.” Thank you.

Bloomberg, “Return of Estate Tax Looms as Final Impediment to Extending Bush Tax Cuts“: “In the past year trade groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers, alarmed by the possibility of a 55 percent rate in 2011, have pivoted toward urging lawmakers to adopt the approach favored by Kyl and Lincoln.” That’s an accurate assessment.

The Senate voted 61-35 on Tuesday for a motion by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) to suspend the expansions of IRS 1099 reporting requirements imposed by the new health care law, but he needed 67 votes for the measure to proceed. Bloomberg reports the NAM’s opposition in its coverage, “Repeal of Health Law’s ‘Onerous’ Business-Expenses Rule Fails“: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, both based in Washington, and the Nashville- based National Federation of Independent Business supported repeal of the 1099 rule, saying the requirement would be cumbersome for business owners.” Cumbersome, yes. Stupidly, insanely burdensome and costly, as well.

A related motion by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to get rid of the 1099 reporting requirement failed 44-53.

Investor’s Business Daily,As EPA Goes Green, Businesses See Red From Lack Of Guidance“: “Big business is bracing for a series of Environmental Protection Agency regulations set to begin in January. The problem is, it doesn’t really know what those regulations are going to be. Neither does the EPA, which has essentially punted that responsibility down to the states.” Meanwhile, Administrator Jackson celebrates the 40th anniversary of the EPA. We suggest the slogan, “Regulatory Excess since the Nixon Era!”

As Singapore Goes, So Goes Spain. Isn’t that a strange concept? The Daily Record of Scotland reports, “Spanish manufacturers ordered to make chewing gum ‘less sticky’“: “Manufacturers have been ordered to change their formula so the gum is easier to clean from pavements. The problem was considered so serious that PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero held a cabinet meeting to tackle the issue.” We await the bureaucratic battle here in the United States to address the problems: FDA or EPA? What with the streets and nuisance and all, it might make Transportation Secretary LaHood’s priority list, too. Bicyclists hate getting gum on their gumwall tires.

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Good Question on EPA Regulation of CO2, but President’s Answer…

The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler’s posed an excellent question at Wednesday’s news conference by President Obama. From the transcript

You said earlier that it was clear that Congress was rejecting the idea of a cap-and-trade program, and that you wouldn’t be able to move forward with that. Looking ahead, do you feel the same way about EPA regulating carbon emissions?  Would you be open to them doing essentially the same thing through an administrative action, or is that off the table, as well?   

The President’s answer included a claim that is just not true

The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction. And I think one of the things that’s very important for me is not to have us ignore the science, but rather to find ways that we can solve these problems that don’t hurt the economy, that encourage the development of clean energy in this country, that, in fact, may give us opportunities to create entire new industries and create jobs that — and that put us in a competitive posture around the world. 

Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute refutes the President’s contention in a post at the American Spectator’s blog:

The 5-4 majority in Massachusetts v. EPA — and we know how the Left feel about 5-4 majorities effectively making decisions assigned to the political branches or process (coughBushvGorecough) — held that EPA could determine greenhouse gases are ‘pollutants’ if it chooses to but must ground any such decision in the statute.  (continue reading…)

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West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin Heads to the Senate. That’s Good

Manufacturers can be pleased with the election of Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to the U.S. Senate to fill the remaining two years of Sen. Robert Byrd’s term. Manchin has long acknowledged the need for West Virginia to improve its business climate, and he’s been a supporter of reforming the state’s capricious civil justice system.

Initially a supporter of the anti-democratic Employee Free Choice Act, Manchin eventually recognized its jobs-killing nature and came to oppose the legislation.

On over-regulation and the excesses of the EPA, Manchin is strong. In August, he wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson:

As EPA continues to promulgate more and more stringent standards, the economic consequences will become more and more burdensome for states and industry to bear, especially in these difficult times. By changing the rules in the middle of the game, EPA is adding an unnecessary element of confusion to an already complicated situation. Your agency must consider the economic and resource burdens caused by its actions. States will need flexibility and resources to help implement new standards. States also should give adequate time to develop plans that address any new air quality requirements.

Gov. Manchin currently serves as chairman of the National Governors Association, where he has made education a major emphasis. NAM President John Engler once chaired the NGA, as well, and the two have had valuable conversations on education and energy.

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