Business groups ask Congress to delay EPA's GHG regulation

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 3 -- The American Petroleum Institute, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, and 20 other business associations asked congressional leaders to deny funding for the US Environmental Protection Agency to implement its planned greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act.

“The state of the economy and high US unemployment were major themes in this year’s elections,” the groups said in a Nov. 30 letter to House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders, and appropriations committee chairmen and ranking minority members.

“The industrial and agricultural sectors are vital to a strong economy, and have a necessary role in maintaining and creating jobs,” it continued. “Unfortunately, EPA’s GHG rules will stifle job growth in these sectors and further burden State budgets already hampered by the slow revenue growth and increased costs.”

EPA began to develop regulations to control GHG emissions after the US Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the agency had the authority to do so under the CAA. The Obama administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have said that legislation would be preferable, but were not able to act. EPA’s program is scheduled to begin with implementation of a so-called “tailoring” rule directed at refineries, chemical plants, and other major industrial facilities in January.

“The stationary source rules will have real consequences on future job growth and industrial expansion,” the groups said in their letter. “These rules will hamper construction and modifications for facilities in the United States. Indeed, we can expect a virtual freeze on new construction of manufacturing facilities or energy efficiency modifications to existing facilities. That result will harm not only our industries but those that are dependent on construction and the clean energy sector.”

In a separate Dec. 1 letter to US Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Industrial Energy Consumers of America asked the Senate to place a two-year moratorium on EPA’s GHG regulatory implementation as part of a continuing resolution or omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2011.

“The regulatory uncertainty associated with the EPA rules that are to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2011, will stop any hope of new capital investment in existing or new facilities in the manufacturing sector,” IECA Pres. Paul N. Cicio said in the letter. “Without capital investment, economic growth and job creation will not develop as needed.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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