April 4, 2014

From the “I’ll believe it when I see it” files, “Sen. Inhofe to Force Congressional Review of All New Major EPA Clean Air Regs”

Relying on the federal government to rein in any of its own power by way of reining in agencies of its own creation and funding is, it seems to me, a fool’s errand, particularly when the Senate is controlled by progressives who rely upon such agencies to implement the portions of their transformative agenda that they can’t get passed through ordinary legislation — though I commend Senator Inhofe and any conservative lawmakers who try to tackle what are unelected, and largely unaccountable, bureaucratic behemoths with more power, I’d argue, than the bodies who gave birth to them.

Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments suggests as one amendment for his convention of the states to consider a way for states to nix federal regulations that meet the threshold of a certain economic impact.  And in the end, I think that — and the removal of civil service protections from bureaucrats which make them impossible to fire and create essentially a legislative class that is beyond electoral control, often consisting of lifetime hires — are the only ways to truly stop the run away administrative state.

But Inhofe will at least force the conversation.  And I’m hoping a number of other members of Congress join him.  CNS News:

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.

[...]

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.

Politically, this can force Democrats to go on record as voting for bureaucratic dictates that kill jobs and demolish industry; but practically, the spin from both the Democrats and the media will be that those who vote to quash such regulatory tyranny are anti-environment, pro-pollution, Big Business puppets, which while untrue may be enough to bring a few “center-right” Republicans over to create a “bi-partisan” defeat of any such attempts at curtailing out of control regulatory overreaching.

Principle is one thing; perception is another. And if recent history has taught us anything it’s that far too many on the GOP side of the aisle are more concerned with the latter, and as a result are willing to rationalize surrendering the former.

Still, it’s a start.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 1:04pm
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Comments (8)

  1. Mistah Jim, he try.

  2. i wonder how Meghan’s cowardwhore daddy will vote on these things.

    He’s such a maverick.

  3. Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments suggests as one amendment for his convention of the states to consider a way for states to nix federal regulations that meet the threshold of a certain economic impact.

    Except that he cites a concrete dollar amount. It should be a percentage of X, to control for inflation and other types of stupidity.

  4. bring back the 9th + 10th amendments. make the epa a monitoring agency reporting to congress. let the states enforce their pollution laws.

  5. newsrouter part of my epiphany and transition toward conservatism came in law school when my constitutional law instructors said not to waste time with 9th and 10th arguments in moot court. From a modern court point of view they were correct but, I realized then something important was lost.

  6. Sadly, all these proposed bills are currently a waste of time. Any bill, particularly those that would force the Democrats into a tough vote, can be stymied by Reid and probably will be. They will never reach the floor for a vote.
    Until the Senate flips, the clown show will continue. And with McCain in office, it will probably continue after it flips. Still, it’s a start.

  7. There’s something to be said for making the effort though Matt. It shows the angry rank and file that someone in D.C. sees what’s going on and is just as angry about it — angry enough to tell the Stabs “waste of time MY ASS.”

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