Sen. Inhofe to Force Congressional Review of All New Major EPA Clean Air Regs

By Matt Vespa | April 4, 2014 | 12:14pm EDT

Sen. James Inhofe (R- OK) is taking a stand against the steady stream of job-killing, price-raising regulations coming out of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Inhofe says he'll force Congressional review of any new EPA regulations relating to the Clean Air Act from going into effect until the agency conducts a full review of these policies and their impact on the American economy.

Sen. Inhofe announced Tuesday that he will be filing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) report on any major EPA regulation that is introduced under President Obama until Congress either passes his bill, S. 2161, into law or the EPA starts abiding by Sec. 321(a) of the Clean Air Act.

Filing a CRA on any federal regulation forces Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to permit a vote in the Senate as to overturn that regulation. It requires 30 senator signatures in order to file the CRA, of which Sen. Inhofe believes he can easily garner that support to force more accountability in the EPA.

Inhofe's bill has 30 sponsors, giving him the signatures needed to file a CRA on any major regulation.

According to the website, a CRA "allows Congress to review 'major rules issued by federal agencies before the rules take effect. Congress may also disapprove new rules, resulting in the rules having no force or effect." It "requires an agency promulgating a rule to submit the rule to Congress and GAO before it can take effect."

The GAO defines a major rule as one that has resulted in or is likely to result in either an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, a significant increase in costs/prices or harm to the economy.

In a March 26 press release, Sen. Inhofe said:

"Under this law, the EPA is required to report how its air regulations are affecting job creation across the entire economy. The EPA has not once abided by this provision and failed to complete a single analysis on its air rules to date. Today, 29 of my Senate colleagues have joined me in introducing legislation that will prohibit the EPA from finalizing any major regulation under the Clean Air Act until the EPA completes the mandated analysis for its air rules currently being enforced. Throughout this year and with the help of many of my colleagues, I will be pursuing every possible avenue to enforce accountability and transparency in the EPA for the sake of our nation's future prosperity and energy security."

Inhofe cited examples of when the EPA said these regulations would create jobs, contrary to what the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) Economic Consulting firm noted after conducting a review using a "whole economy" model.  Here are three examples:

  • Utility MACT rule (77 Fed. Reg. 9301): EPA's analysis of the Utility MACT rule estimated that implementation of the final rule would result in the creation of 46,000 temporary construction jobs and 8,000 net new permanent jobs. NERA's whole economy analysis found that the rule would have a negative impact on the income of workers in an amount equivalent to 180,000 to 215,000 lost jobs in 2014, and 50,000 to 85,000 lost jobs each year thereafter.
  • Cross State Air Pollution rule (76 Fed. Reg. 48208): The EPA's analysis of the Cross State Air Pollution rule estimated that implementation of the final rule would result in the creation of 700 jobs per year. NERA's whole economy analysis found that the rule would result in the elimination of a total of 34,000 jobs from 2013 to 2037.
  • Boiler MACT rule (76 Fed. Reg. 15608): EPA's analysis of the Boiler MACT rule estimated that implementation of the final rule would result in the creation of 2,200 jobs per year. NERA's whole economy analysis found that the rule would result in the elimination of 28,000 jobs per year from 2013 to 2037.

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