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July 16, 2015

Barrasso: EPA Overreach is Irrational and Inappropriate

β€œThe Supreme Court has said that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to take a more honest approach, and it needs to take the true costs into consideration.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Late last month, the Supreme Court issued a severe rebuke to the Obama administration, and to its Environmental Protection Agency. 

“It was a strong stand against Washington overreach. 

“The Environmental Protection Agency had written what it called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule. 

“This rule was a key part of the Obama administration’s war on coal.

“The Supreme Court said that when Washington bureaucrats were writing this rule, they failed – the EPA failed - to consider the overwhelming costs that they were imposing on hard-working American families. 

“The court said: ‘One would not say that it is even rational, never mind appropriate, to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.’ 

“It wasn’t even rational, never mind appropriate.

"The court’s decision was exactly right – and many of us saw it as a big step toward reining in the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency.

“Here’s the problem: the rule came out in 2012. And the Supreme Court didn’t rule and make its ruling until 2015. Well, that’s three years. It’s far too late for many Americans who work in coal plants and who have already been hurt by this rule.

“That’s because power companies were already having to comply with the rule while it made its way through the courts. 

“They’ve already closed plants because of the rule – even though the Supreme Court now says that the rule was inappropriate. It was wrong. 

“Unemployed workers don’t get their jobs back now that the court ruled against the Obama administration.

“Because of these regulations, people are already paying higher electricity rates than they would have otherwise.

“Consumers don’t get their money back, just because the Supreme Court now says that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority. 

“This isn’t the first time that this agency has gone beyond the law, and beyond what it’s allowed to do. 

“That’s what it did when it put out the so-called ‘Waters of the United States’ rule. It’s a recent rule –‘ Waters of the United States’ rule. 

“The agency wants to greatly expand its own control over the nation’s land and water. 

“Farmers, ranchers, hard-working families would no longer be able to decide what to do on their own land. 

“States, counties and towns would no longer be able to decide what regulations will best protect the streams, rivers and lakes within their borders. 

“That’s the problem. These decisions would now be made by Washington bureaucrats – no matter what the cost. No matter how small the benefits, no matter how large the cost.

“Not only did the agency increase its authority dramatically, it appears that it abused the rule-making process to get the result that the EPA wanted. 

“When Washington writes these big, expensive regulations, it’s supposed to have a public comment period – so that people who might be harmed by the rules can have their say. 

“Well, according to news reports, when the EPA was writing the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, the EPA twisted the public comment process into its own private, government-funded spin machine. 

“This government agency ignored negative comments by Americans who were actually concerned about the law, and who were hurt by the law.

“Now, that not what I’m saying. That’s what the New York Times was saying when it reported on this scandal back in May. 

“The New York Times said that the EPA used taxpayer dollars to lobby liberal groups ‘to flood the agency with positive comments.’ 

“These were the same phony, ginned up comments that it used to justify the dramatic overreach of its new regulations. 

“It’s incredible, it’s unbelievable and I believe it’s illegal.

“If you want another example of overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency, look at the regulations that it wrote to restrict the amount of carbon dioxide produced by power plants. 

“It’s called the ‘Clean power plan.’

“When the Environmental Protection Agency was writing this rule, it did the same thing that the Supreme Court just said was not even “rational.”

“The EPA counted up what it said would be the benefits of the regulation, without caring about the true costs. 

“So what are these true costs? 

“Well, according to one estimate, the new regulations could add up to $366 billion in additional costs over the next 15 years. 

“That cost would be passed on to consumers – and it would force more power plants to close, and more Americans to lose their jobs.

“For all of that expense – all of that damage to hard-working families – the benefits would be minimal. 

“The Obama administration makes wild claims about environmental benefits of this regulation. 

“They’re the same kind of claims that it made for the rule that the Supreme Court just called unreasonable. 

“The agency exaggerates the benefits, the agency ignores the costs, and it puts its thumb on the scale to come up with the policy that it wants.

“One of the big costs that the Environmental Protection Agency has been ignoring is the damaging health effects of the unemployment caused by these regulations. 

“When a power plant closes, people in those communities lose their jobs – and their health suffers. 

“High unemployment increases the likelihood of hospital visits, of illnesses, of premature death.  

“High unemployment raises health care costs – and it hurts children’s health, and family well-being. 

“Those are real costs to families, to society and the EPA continues to intentionally ignore them. 

“The Environmental Protection Agency was wrong when it wrote its mercury and air toxics rule. 

“It was wrong when it wrote its ‘Waters of the United States’ rule. 

“It was wrong when it wrote its power plant rules. 

“The Supreme Court has said that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to take a more honest approach – the Supreme Court telling President Obama’s EPA to take an honest approach - and it needs to take the true costs into consideration. 

“That’s what states across the country are already doing. 

“Governors in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas are refusing to be bullied by the Obama administration. 

“They’re refusing to give up their right to decide what’s best for their own citizens. 

“These states, I believe, are taking the right approach. 

“They’re waiting to get a true idea of the costs as well as the benefits, before they rush to allow rules that would shut down power plants and put thousands of people out of work. 

“The Supreme Court says that’s what Washington should be doing as well.

“Maybe now the Obama administration will finally listen, and start basing its regulations on what the science says is true, not just on what the bureaucrats of the administration wish were true.”


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