The PJ Tatler

The Senate Needs to Take Up the House's EPA Regulatory Relief Legislation

I’ve written here at the Tatler at some length on the EPA’s proposed Boiler MACT rule — here and here, for instance. It’s a massive regulatory slam on the economy, that has divided parts of the Obama administration against itself and united industry, the Republicans and some Democrats to oppose it. But up to December, the EPA had been pushing headlong toward imposing it anyway. It threatens roughly 200,000 jobs nationwide, and see the first link above regarding something else the MACT rule threatens: An entire town.

In December 2011, though, the EPA changed course and decided to delay implementing the rule. It actually appeared to be taking industry concerns into account, for once. The Sierra Club and others had filed suit to force the EPA to stick to its original timeline. The federal court in Washington, DC heard the case and sided with the Sierra Club in January. So now, the EPA is being forced by a judge to implement a rule that the EPA itself has acknowledged is problematic and requires more study.

There may be a solution to the problem. The House has included and passed EPA regulatory relief (HR 3630) in its payroll tax extension legislation. The legislation stays the EPA’s MACT rule and directs the agency to re-propose the rule to make it something businesses can actually achieve. The Senate has not passed its version, despite the fact that it has attracted 41 co-sponsors including 12 Democrats. In an era of strident partisanship, the EPA’s rule has managed to attract some genuine bipartisanship. The Senate needs to take up and pass S. 1392, its version of the EPA regulatory relief legislation, and get this nightmare rule out of the hands of the courts.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs, as well as government accountability, are at stake. It’s time for the Senate to act.